Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The number of positive COVID-19 cases for Chaffee County has been increased to 74 from 70 reported as of last week.

Columbine Manor Care Center. Photo by Dan Smith

Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) Director Andrea Carlstrom reported four new cases of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 have been reported: all are staff of the Columbine Manor Care Center in Salida, and had an onset of symptoms between March 23 and April 6.

Even though they were not tested for COVID-19, Carlstrom said in a press release, they are considered probable cases due to their reported symptoms and workplace exposure.

“Columbine Manor’s outbreak has reached prolonged stability and the case is closed, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).  At this time, there have been 57 positives (including probable) cases of COVID-19 in Columbine [Manor] of Chaffee County residents AND out-of-county staff,” the release stated.

“This consists of 26 living residents still at the facility, one resident who was discharged home, 17 resident deaths, and 13 staff (2 who reside outside Chaffee County.) CCPH is working closely with CDPHE to determine when the outbreak can be considered resolved.”

Carlstrom noted in the press release, that beginning May 15, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) changed how deaths are report, shifting to two ways:

  • The number of deaths among people with COVID-19. This represents the total number of deaths reported among people who have COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate. This information is required by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations.
  • The number of deaths among people who died from COVID-19: This represents the total number of people whose death was attributed to COVID-19 as indicated on a death certificate. This number is determined by the CDC and is updated daily for dates through the previous Saturday.

Carlstrom’s announcement stressed that it is important to remember that, with this new accounting, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 and deaths among people with COVID-19 should not be added together to determine a total death count. They are separate numbers. Until now, CCPH was reporting all deaths together. From May 15 data on, “we will be breaking out the deaths in the same way as CDPHE has started. Our current numbers include 19 deaths among cases, 14 of which died of COVID-19, and five listed COVID-19 as a contributing factor in the death.”

CCPH and Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) are continuing weekly community testing clinics. No positive test results were reported from last week’s clinic. Future free clinics will be held every Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, by appointment only. Appointments must be scheduled by close of business the Monday before the testing clinic will be held. The State of Colorado and Chaffee County have FURTHER expanded testing capability. Testing criteria now includes:

  • Any community member (or others who consider Chaffee County their medical home) who is showing symptoms
  • Any asymptomatic patient who has a known contact with a positive case or has traveled in an area with high rates of transmission
  • All healthcare workers, all first responders, all senior care facility workers, and all essential workers who directly interact with the public while working, whether or not those individuals have symptoms.

Those interested in being tested, should call Public Health at 719-539-4510 to be screened, approved, and scheduled for testing. Those with severe respiratory symptoms are asked to contact their primary care provider directly.