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Chaffee County Public Health personnel prepare for the Face Mask giveaway April 15. From left are Sarah Adams, Miki Hodge, Mike Orrill and Cassondra Franco.

Andrea Carlstrom, Director of the Chaffee County Public Health Department, updated the local COVID-19 situation Wednesday, April 15 with local healthcare providers. Carlstrom said the number of positive cases detected at Columbine Manor Care facility in Salida have risen to 41 positive tests among residents and staff. She said all the facility’s isolated residents have been tested, with 32 positive for the virus and 20 negative and four tests pending.

Carlstrom said the latest count “consists of 27 living residents still at the facility, one resident who was discharged home, three resident deaths, one hospitalization, and nine staff (two who reside outside Chaffee County.) There have been 31 negative cases of COVID-19. This consists of 27 residents still living at the facility and four discharged residents. There are three pending test results remaining,” she reported.

Of 56 current cases in Chaffee County, Carlstrom said 21 of those have recovered from the disease.

Chaffee County Public Health workers hand out masks at the Touber Building Thursday afternoon. 302 were given out in a short time. Courtesy photo.

Her report on the latest figures from Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center showed four patients being treated for COVID-19. There have been 230 total tests conducted to date, from the Emergency Department, inpatient, the triage tent outside, hospital clinics, employees and providers with 18 positive, 214 negative and eight tests pending.

A total of 12 of 25 rooms at the hospital have patients, a 48 percent capacity rate. After planning and room reconfigurations, the hospital has five negative pressure rooms for virus patients, and 14 additional beds available in the same-day surgery area for non-COVID-19 patients if needed.

Carlstrom notes that because of limited testing capability, daily and weekly numbers reported don’t necessarily represent the total presence of the virus in Chaffee County.

A good turnout was reported at the protective mask distribution drive-through event on Wednesday at the Touber Building in Salida. Carlstrom reported a total of 302 protective masks were given out in about 18 minutes, and cars began to queue up for the handout long before the 3 p.m. event opened. This event offered free cloth masks to residents who had not been able to get one. Many recipients also made donations to cover costs.

Carlstorm said that  CCPH is also working with a group in Buena Vista to ensure mask distribution on the north end of the county,  and will have more events as supplies are received.

Various organizations and public-spirited individuals have been making cloth masks for residents and health workers on a continuing basis.

For more about efforts by Chaffee County Public Health and mask supplies for Chaffee County, go to :