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Coronavirus-related deaths among Colorado nursing home residents near 800; third prison inmate dies

New coronavirus infections in Colorado have been leveling off or trending downward over the past two weeks. However state health officials warn a resurgence may be building.

The Cherry Creek Nursing Center in southeast Aurora where an outbreak of the new coronavirus has sickened and killed residents. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Coronavirus-related deaths among residents of Colorado nursing homes and senior care centers are nearing 800, according to new data released Wednesday by state health officials, showing that the disease continues to take a toll on those facilities even as its impact lessens elsewhere.

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There have been 796 resident deaths linked to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, representing 54% of the 1,474 people in Colorado who have died after contracting the disease. That is up from 737 nursing home deaths last week. 

About 3,000 residents of nursing homes and senior care centers have either tested positive for the disease or have probable infections, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data analyzed by The Colorado Sun.

More than 2,300 staff members at the facilities have either tested positive for coronavirus or have probable cases. Two staff members with confirmed cases of the disease have died. 

MORE: See a list of every affected nursing home and senior care center and how many infections and deaths have been reported at each.

New coronavirus infections in Colorado have been leveling off or trending downward over the past two weeks. Hospitalizations among people infected with COVID-19 have also reached their lowest level since late March. 

However state health officials warn a resurgence may be building and that protests in Denver in the wake of George Floyd’s death last week in Minnesota could drive numbers up. 

Gov. Jared Polis announced on Tuesday that the state is hiring 800 workers to trace infections and alert people if they may have been exposed to the virus. 

The CDPHE data released Wednesday also includes information about outbreaks at businesses, jails and other health care sites across Colorado. Outbreaks are defined as at least two cases of the virus within 14 days.

Cases of the virus at jails and prisons have also remained fairly steady in the past week, though a third inmate at the Sterling Correctional Facility in northeast Colorado has died after testing positive for the virus, according to the CDPHE data. The prison now has 560 confirmed cases of the virus among its roughly 2,500 inmates.

Also, 32 workers at the prison have confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. 

Eleven inmates at the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement processing center in Aurora have tested positive for coronavirus. The private facility is run by the GEO Group.

The GEO immigration detention center in Aurora on Monday, July 22, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The Weld County jail has 12 cases among inmates, as well as one death. In addition, 20 employees have confirmed cases of the virus.

The Crowley County Correctional Facility, a private prison, has had 60 confirmed cases among inmates and four among staff. And the Douglas County Jail has had 10 cases among inmates. 

In Denver, the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center has a reported 283 confirmed and suspected cases among inmates. The facility has a 1,500 inmate capacity. Three employees have also tested positive. 

Outbreaks at grocery stores, retail businesses 

The state is also tracking outbreaks at food-manufacturing plants, restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. 

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. The number of cases remained steady from last week.

Cargill Meat Solutions, in Morgan County, has 96 employees with confirmed or probable cases of the virus, and four worker deaths, according to the state. That’s one more death than was reported a week ago. 

The Cargill meatpacking facility in Fort Morgan. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Leprino Foods in Fort Morgan has 86 cases and one death from the virus. And Steven Roberts Original Desserts, in Aurora, has 115 cases of the virus among its workers. 

At the Pro-Health potato processing plant in Wray, 21 workers have tested positive for the virus. The Colorado Mushroom Farm in Alamosa has 16 confirmed cases among its workforce and two others have probable infections.

An Amazon facility in Adams County has 10 reported cases. 

Restaurants and grocery stores with confirmed or suspected cases include: 

  • City Market in Breckenridge, 19 cases
  • Five King Soopers stores, in Jefferson, Adams and Denver counties, including two deaths of employees at a store in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood
  • Costco, Arapahoe County, 12 cases
  • Izzio Bakery, Louisville, eight cases
  • Downstairs at Eric’s, Breckenridge, five cases

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