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Columbine Manor Care Center. Photo by Dan Smith

A resident of Columbine Manor Care Center in Salida has become the second person in the county to die from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Allison Gergley, Marketing and Public Relations Director at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, (HRRMC) said the 87 year-old female victim was admitted to the hospital the evening of March 31, suffering from respiratory distress. Her condition deteriorated and she died the evening of April 1, said Gergley.

The first fatality was an 83-year-old man who had prior underlying health conditions who died after testing positive for the virus and being placed on a ventilator at a medical facility in El Paso County after transfer from HRRMC.

Health officials say they are closely monitoring an outbreak of the virus at Columbine Manor.

Public Health has confirmed that Chaffee County currently has 19 positive COVID-19 cases, said Gergley. Nine of the positive cases are associated with Columbine Manor, including six patients and three facility employees. Eight residents and five employees have tested negative for the disease and six tests for each group were still awaiting results Wednesday.

Columbine Manor executive director Joshua Finger said in a press release Wednesday that employees who display symptoms are directed to see their personal health care provider and follow health department guidelines for when they can return to work.

Columbine is working with the Chaffee County Public Health as well as state health officials regarding guidelines for dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Columbine is one of nine such care facilities in the state to experience an outbreak of the disease.

HRRMC, Public Health, Emergency Management and community organizations continue to coordinate efforts to keep the county as informed as possible on all updates.

For additional information on COVID-19 as it pertains to HRRMC, click the HRRMC banner about this story,  visit or call 719-530- 2217.