DENVER — Long-term care facilities in Colorado appear to be taking the brunt of the state’s COVID-19 cases that require hospitalizations or turn fatal, and the state, after several months into the crises, is taking further action to prevent and control outbreaks at these facilities.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released an amendment to the public health order for long-term care facilities, which require them to submit COVID-19 prevention and response plans by May 1.
Key elements of this public health order include:
- A severe limit on visitors in long-term care facilities.
- An at-the-door symptom check for all employees, vendors, and visitors before entering the facility.
- A COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan submitted by the facilities to CDPHE by May 1, 2020.
- A plan to isolate people who have COVID-19 symptoms or positive tests.
- A requirement that facilities ensure all residents have access to necessary medical care.
- A requirement that all facility residents and employees wear a mask or other face-covering when in public. Facility employees must wear an appropriate mask at all times when they are in the facility.
The CDPHE announced Monday that 900 residents and staffers at three Front Range long-term care facilities will be tested for COVID-19 this.
According to data last updated April 15, there were 644 residents at those facilities who had either tested positive for the novel coronavirus or were suspected to have it. Thirty people who died are suspected to have had the virus, and another 138 people who died tested positive for the virus.
Additionally, 634 staffers at facilities across the state have tested positive for the virus or are suspected to have the virus.
In total, around 40% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have come at long-term care facilities.
As of April 21, there were 119 reported outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Colorado.