The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released detailed breakdowns of positive cases and deaths due to the novel coronavirus at long-term care facilities in the state on Wednesday, showing there have been four fatalities at the The Bridge at Longmont care facility, with 17 confirmed or probable cases among its residents, and eight more among staff.
The same report indicated one resident had died at Boulder Manor, where 10 residents were positive or probable for COVID-19, and 14 staff were identified as positive or probable for the disease.
A staff member at The Bridge at Longmont on Wednesday night said no comment on the four deaths there could be provided at that time.
Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in Boulder County attributed to the novel coronavirus held fast at 15 on Wednesday, while the total for those who have tested positive or who are considered probable reached 299.
Data released by the Boulder County Public Health Department also show that 81 of the people with COVID-19 have required hospitalization, and 128 are recovered from their illness.
Of the county’s 299 cases, 41 are under investigation by epidemiologists.
The 10-year age bracket showing the highest number of positive tests, according to county health officials, is those 20 to 29, with 60 in that age range. A total of 106 people who tested positive are 60 or older.
By the county’s count, 64 staff or residents at 12 long-term care facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. According to Chana Goussetis, spokesperson for the county health department, there are 30 licensed assisted living facilities and 12 licensed nursing homes in Boulder County. This total does not include independent senior living homes.
Goussetis has previously said that of the 15 people in the county who have died, 12 were either a staff member or resident at a long-term care facility.
Also on Wednesday, Boulder Community Health spokesperson Rich Sheehan confirmed that two large walk-in coolers that have been photographed and posted on social media are for the potential storage of the deceased.
“We made this decision about three weeks ago,” Sheehan wrote in an email. “At that time, media reports were showing what was happening at hospitals in other parts of the country that had been quickly overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and didn’t have the facilities to properly store the remains of deceased patients — there were images of bodies stacked in offices, bodies on gurneys in hallways.
“We didn’t want that to happen here and we knew our community didn’t want that to happen here, so we decided to take action right away to develop a more suitable alternative if we reached the situation where a temporary morgue was needed.”
Sheehan said that the normal capacity for bodies at BCH’s Foothills Hospital is three, and that Boulder County hospitals’ collective capacity overall is 12 bodies.
“We envisioned a worst case scenario and decided to add two portable coolers that could accommodate up to 40 bodies,” Sheehan said.
“We did this to be able to support the families in our community who would have a loved one pass away during the pandemic. In our worst case scenario, those families would know their loved one’s remains were being treated respectfully and stored safely.”
The coolers, he said on Wednesday, are not yet in use.
CDPHE on Wednesday released also released updated numbers, based on state data compiled through Tuesday, showing that 357 in the state have died who were positive for COVID-19 — up from 329 the previous day; 8,250 have tested positive across 56 of the state’s 64 counties; 1,636 have been hospitalized; and there have been outbreaks at 83 residential and non-hospital long-term care facilities.
Also in the new state data on long-term care facilities, the Balfour Retirement Communities in Louisville showed four residents and three staff confirmed or probable; the Frasier senior residential facility in Boulder with two residents and one staff member in that category; Lifecare Center of Longmont with 12 residents and seven staff; and The Peaks Care Center in Longmont showing four residents and two staff confirmed or probable.
Both local and state data relating to the coronvairus are believed to not show the full range of the spread of the disease, due to both a lack of access to testing and a lag in the return of results on those who have been tested.