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Coronavirus deaths at Colorado nursing homes, senior facilities reach 711; outbreaks reported at restaurants and stores

While the coronavirus continues to kill residents of nursing homes and senior care centers, Colorado health officials say the number of facilities reporting outbreaks each week has started to slow. The disease, however, is now spreading at other locations.

Juniper Village at Aurora, where an outbreak of the coronavirus has killed several residents and sickened dozens. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Colorado reported 77 new confirmed and probable coronavirus-related deaths among residents of nursing homes and senior care facilities in the past seven days, bringing the total number of fatalities to 711.

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The deaths continue to represent the majority of coronavirus-related fatalities in Colorado. Through Wednesday, they accounted for 57% of the 1,257 people with the disease who have died. 

Infections among residents and staff members also grew since last week, according to data released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Confirmed and probable infections among residents reached more than 2,500 on Wednesday, up about 2,300 from a week ago. Meanwhile, confirmed and probable infections among staff were tallied at roughly 2,100 on Wednesday, up about 300 from a week ago. 

Colorado public health officials have worked to limit the disease’s impact in nursing homes and senior care centers, but the virus continues to spread and kill residents. 

MORE: See a chart of which nursing homes have been affected and the deaths and infections at each one.

Some of the hardest hit facilities include:

  • Amberwood Court Rehabilitation in Denver, 15 deaths and 26 cases
  • Centennial Healthcare Center in Weld County , 24 deaths and 46 cases
  • Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora, 33 deaths and 83 cases
  • Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, 20 deaths and 56 cases
  • Mountain Vista Health Care in Jefferson County, 20 deaths and 74 cases
  • Julia Temple Healthcare Center in Arapahoe County, 17 deaths and 30 cases
The Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, where there have been 20 deaths linked to the coronavirus. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The new data from CDPHE comes as all nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, five Democrats and four Republicans, sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking for additional personal protective equipment for nursing home workers.

“Colorado’s senior living facilities continue to be the single largest contributor to COVID-19 fatalities in our state,” they wrote in the letter that cited a Colorado Sun report. 

FEMA should continue to deliver PPE to Colorado nursing homes through July, said the letter, provided to The Sun by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse’s office.

The federal agency is delivering two rounds of masks, gloves and other PPE to nursing homes this week and next week, the letter said. 

Colorado has 227 nursing homes with about 16,800 residents and 20,330 staff, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center of Assisted Living. The association is asking the federal government for $10 billion so that all residents and employees at nursing homes and assisted-living centers in the United States can get tested for the coronavirus.

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

Outbreaks at grocery stores, retail businesses

While the coronavirus continues to kill residents of nursing homes and senior care centers, CDPHE says the number of facilities reporting outbreaks has started to slow. 

The disease, however, is now spreading through grocery stores, restaurants, retail businesses and other sites at a greater pace. 

Two Chick-Fil-A locations — in Adams County and one in Larimer County — have reported outbreaks among their workers. Infections have been detected among staff at an Arby’s in Arapahoe County. A McDonald’s in El Paso County has also had employees test positive.

Two Home Depot locations in Arapahoe County have also been identified by state health officials as outbreak spots. 

Meanwhile, Denver’s jails have been hard hit. 

The Van Cise Simonet Detention Center, also known as the downtown jail, has nearly 600 confirmed and probable cases of the virus among inmates. Several staff members have also tested positive.

The Denver County Jail has 70 confirmed and probable cases among inmates. A pair of staff members have also tested positive at the facility, as well.

Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, also known as the downtown jail, photographed on March 18, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The food-related sites on the state’s outbreak list include:

  • JBS meat-packing plant in Weld County, 264 cases and six deaths
  • Leprino Foods in Fort Morgan, 87 cases
  • Cargill Meat Solutions in Morgan County, 75 cases and three deaths
  • King Soopers Bakery in Denver, 32 cases and one death
  • Leprino Foods in Greeley, 20 cases
  • City Market in Summit County, 18 cases
  • Del Monte in Adams County, 25 cases
  • Costco Wholesale in Arapahoe County, 11 cases
  • Anheuser-Busch distribution center in Adams County, 15 cases
  • Safeway Distribution Center in Denver, six cases and one death
  • Walmart in Arapahoe County, 14 cases and three deaths

There have also been outbreaks of the coronavirus at the two shelters set up in Denver for people experiencing homelessness.

The city of Denver opened a 300-bed women’s auxiliary shelter at the Denver Coliseum on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Pool photo by Hart Van Denburg, Colorado Public Radio)

At the auxiliary shelter for women at the Denver Coliseum, three residents and one staff member have tested positive for the disease.

At the National Western Complex shelter for men, 26 staff have either tested positive for the virus or have probable infections of the disease.


Updated on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 2:49 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct the number of cases at the JBS beef plant in Greeley. The state says there have been 264 cases and six deaths at the facility. The story also was updated at 11:21 a.m. on Thursday, May 21, 2020, to correct the number of cases at Leprino Foods in Greeley to 20.

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