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National Guard conducts proactive COVID-19 testing at Broomfield nursing home

Testing has already been done at facilities in El Paso and Adams counties. The goal is to proactively find and isolate COVID-19 cases before they become outbreaks.

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Members of the Colorado National Guard will help conduct proactive COVID-19 testing at a Broomfield nursing home Thursday, something that’s part of a broader state initiative to prevent widespread outbreaks at similar facilities by catching cases early.

Thursday’s tests at the Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center come after the National Guard conducted testing operations at Elms Haven Center in Adams County on Tuesday and at the Pikes Peak Center in El Paso County on Sunday.

The Colorado National Guard announced the tests in a news release that was distributed on Monday. 

At this point, there is not a confirmed outbreak at the facility in Broomfield, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) data. According to a Facebook post from the Broomfield Police Department, proactive testing is based on the size of the facility and not necessarily the number of cases there.

The facility released the following statement: 

“All of us at Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center are grateful to Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for their commitment to increase testing among residents of nursing facilities in Colorado. We understand that Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been selected as an initial site for expanded COVID-19 testing due to the size of our facility and no reported outbreaks per CDPHE guidelines. We have diligently sought testing for any resident that shows COVID-19 symptoms and have insisted that any staff who are symptomatic stay home until they satisfy the return-to-work criteria established by federal and state agencies. However, we understand that some individuals may be infected with the virus without outwardly showing symptoms. To date, due to the limited number of tests available throughout the state, testing for such individuals has been unavailable. This new effort will make available testing for our residents and staff, allowing us to identify residents and staff who, while non-symptomatic, may nonetheless be infected by the virus. This knowledge will assist us in our efforts to appropriately care for infected individuals, while preventing the potential spread to others within our community. We also want to welcome and thank the members of the Colorado National Guard who are helping to administer tests at our facility. We have been working in a close partnership with the National Guard and CDPHE to make this testing process as smooth and convenient for our residents as possible.” 

>>> Watch the video above for an earlier 9NEWS story about whether families should remove loved ones from nursing homes due to COVID-19 concerns. 

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There have been 119 outbreaks at Colorado nursing homes and businesses as of Wednesday morning. Additional data is likely to be published on CDPHE’s website during the afternoon.

A confirmed outbreak means there are two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a facility or non-household group with onset in a 14-day period, CDPHE said.

Dozens of Colorado’s COVID-19 fatalities have been tied to nursing homes, according to CDPHE. Data shows the older the patient is, the more at risk he or she is to die from complications related to the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has asked for stricter precautions at nursing homes, including limits on visitation and temperature checks for people who come in and out of the facilities.

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