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Coronavirus

Coronavirus deaths at Colorado nursing homes slow, reach 737; outbreaks at restaurants, stores continue to climb

The Sterling Correctional Facility in northeast Colorado is the site of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak. At least 539 inmates there have tested positive for the disease and two have died.

The Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, where there have been 18 confirmed coronavirus deaths and there are four other fatalities that is considered linked to the disease. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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The pace of coronavirus deaths among Colorado nursing home and senior care center residents slowed during the past week, rising by 26 to 737, according to state health officials. 

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

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  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
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  • STORYColorado nursing homes with the most coronavirus deaths were cited for poor infection control

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That’s a stark difference compared to recent weeks in which the state counted nearly 100 new fatalities each week. 

Deaths among residents of nursing homes and senior care centers now comprise 53% of the 1,392 people who have died after becoming infected with the coronavirus in Colorado. 

The data is part of a weekly outbreak report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which also is tracking cases of the virus at restaurants, grocery stores, food-manufacturing facilities, group homes and jails and prisons. 

Confirmed and probable infections among residents reached more than 2,700 on Wednesday, up about 300 from a week ago. Meanwhile, confirmed and probable infections among staff were tallied at roughly 2,150, up about 100 from a week ago. 

Colorado public health officials in the past few weeks have ramped up testing in nursing homes across the state, testing residents and staff, whether they have symptoms or not. The state has also received shipments of personal protective equipment for nursing home employees.

The result, Gov. Jared Polis and CDPHE say, is a slowing of the virus’ spread in those facilities. 

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

Some of the facilities hardest hit by confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus include:

  • Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora, 33 deaths and 83 cases
  • Mountain Vista Health Care in Jefferson County, 27 deaths and 80 cases
  • Centennial Healthcare Center in Weld County, 24 deaths and 46 cases
  • Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, 22 deaths and 59 cases
  • Julia Temple Healthcare Center in Arapahoe County, 17 deaths and 32 cases
  • Amberwood Court Rehabilitation in Denver, 15 deaths and 26 cases

At Julia Temple, officials say two staff members with confirmed coronavirus cases have died from the disease. 

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.

Outbreaks at grocery stores, retail businesses 

The weekly outbreak list released by CDPHE continues to get longer with outbreaks among employees of several grocery stores, restaurants and food-manufacturing plants. The most severe food-related outbreak reported so far is at the JBS meat plant in Greeley, which has 273 confirmed cases of the virus and six employee deaths. 

Cargill Meat Solutions, in Morgan County, has 91 employees with confirmed or probable cases of the virus, and three worker deaths, according to the state. Steven Roberts Original Desserts, in Aurora, has 115 cases of the virus among its workers. 

A City Market in Breckenridge now has 19 employees with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus, and three King Soopers stores — two in Jefferson County and one in Denver — are on the outbreak list. The Denver store, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, has had two employees die. Mi Pueblo Market locations in Aurora and Thornton also have outbreaks. 

Outbreaks are defined as at least two cases of the virus within 14 days.

Restaurant outbreaks include two Chick-Fil-A locations, in Adams and Larimer counties, an Arby’s in Arapahoe County and a McDonald’s in El Paso County. 

Two Home Depot locations, both in Arapahoe County, also have outbreaks among staff. Two Walmarts — including one in Arapahoe County where three employees have died — and a Walmart distribution center have outbreaks. And OraLabs — which manufactures hand sanitizer in Parker — has 36 suspected and confirmed cases among its employees. 

Infections at jails and prisons increase

Coronavirus infections at Colorado’s jails and prisons continue to be a problem.

The Sterling Correctional Facility in northeast Colorado is the site of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak. At least 539 inmates there have tested positive for the disease and two have died. As many as 24 staff members at the facility also have been infected.

The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in Denver, also known as the downtown jail, has 164 inmates with confirmed coronavirus cases. Another 101 have probable infections. Three staff members have tested positive for the disease.

Last week, the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center was reporting hundreds more potential cases, but those have since been removed from the CDPHE’s outbreak data.

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

The Denver County Jail has 22 confirmed cases among inmates and 48 more probable ones.

Other corrections facilities with outbreaks include:

  • The Crowley County Correctional Facility, where 60 inmates and three staff have tested positive for the virus.
  • The Weld County jail, where 12 inmates have tested positive for the virus and one has died. Twenty staff members also have the disease.
  • The Douglas County jail, where nine inmates have tested positive and another is said to have a probable infection.
  • The Washington County jail in Akron, where seven inmates have tested positive for the virus.
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