COLORADO, USA — Behind the walls of nursing homes across the state, COVID-19 is proving deadly.
Data obtained by 9WantsToKnow shows at least 47 people have died of COVID-19 at nursing facilities across the state as of April 5. Eight more deaths are being investigated. At least 182 cases of the virus are confirmed. Multiple cases have been confirmed at 59 care facilities across Colorado.
In Denver, at least 17 people have died of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities, as of Thursday. That made up nearly half of the 38 deaths in the county. In Jefferson County, eight of the reported 25 deaths from COVID-19 are linked to nursing homes, according to data provided from April 9.
"It’s almost a perfect storm to have individuals who are there because they have some sort of underlying medical condition and they are typically elderly," said Ashley Richter, the Communicable Disease Epidemiology Manager for the Tri-County Health Department. "We’re seeing a lot of individuals who have some sort of medical condition or who are older are passing away, unfortunately."
Richter says there are 38 facilities in her area that have confirmed cases. One of the largest outbreaks is at the Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora where 19 people have died, 11 of which have tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, a spokesman for the company wrote, "the Center is collaborating closely with the Tri-County Health Department in order to protect our residents, and staff are minimizing social contact, social distancing, ending communal dining and group activities and promoting handwashing. The facility’s leadership has conducted two virtual tours of the facility with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment."
"It’s a huge concern for us. We’re extremely worried," said Richter. "If the residents aren’t leaving the facility, somebody has to physically bring the virus into the facility, whether that’s a staff member or someone coming to visit a loved one in the facility, that’s how it’s getting in."
Nursing homes and care facilities across the state have implemented stricter rules to stop the spread. That includes not allowing visitors inside and even keeping residents separated during meals and activities.
Even as residents are told to stay at home, for some there’s no escaping the virus.
"We’re all susceptible and we can all get it," said Richter. "Our outcomes may vary, but it’s scary for everyone."
SUGGESTED VIDEOS | COVID-19 Pandemic