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Testing shows no evidence of COVID-19 variant at Loveland nursing home

In one day, 27 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at North Shore Health and Rehabilitation Facility.

LOVELAND, Colo. — Test results released Monday showed that a COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Loveland did not involve a more contagious strain of the coronavirus first detected in the United Kingdom.

More than 100 staff members at North Shore Health and Rehabilitation Facility tested positive for COVID-19 since an outbreak began Nov. 16, according to data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, the case count rose from 38 to 110.

The number jumped significantly after testing done was Jan. 5, said Yvonne Myers, health systems director for Columbine Health. The company owns and operates the North Shore facility and other nursing homes. 

"The results started coming back Thursday, Thursday night,” Myers said. “By Friday morning at 6:00 a.m., we knew we had 27 positive staff.”

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Twenty-seven new cases among staff members increased the number of positive tests to 147 since the outbreak began. Myers said 108 staff members and 39 residents had tested positive during the outbreak. The outbreak impacted about 60% of staff across various departments.

“We feel like we don’t have a smoking gun as to why there was such a big number," Myers said. "We’ve followed all the protocols and yet [COVID-19 is] still there.”

The number caught the attention of CDPHE, and Myers said the health department collected samples from two residents and two staff members who were known to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Myers said CPDHE was looking into whether staff and residents were infected with the COVID-19 variant that was first found in the U.K. The CDC said the strain spreads more quickly and easily than the original, but there's no evidence to suggest it's more deadly.

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Testing was done on Friday, Myers said.

On Monday, CDPHE confirmed that no cases among 97 samples tested were positive for the more contagious variant.

Myers said staff and residents in two of three buildings on the nursing home campus tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty residents who tested negative for the coronavirus were moved temporarily to other Columbine Health facilities.

After learning about the spike in cases last week, Myers said the 30 residents were moved into their new homes within five hours.

Myers said Walgreens already began vaccination clinics at Columbine Health facilities, and 75 staff members would have the opportunity to get their shots on Monday.

“Vaccinating tomorrow at North Shore is a good thing," she said. "We’re excited for that.”

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