DENVER (KDVR) — Dozens of Colorado nursing homes have been issued citations for not following proper safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers have learned 61 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado are from nursing homes and long-term senior care facilities.
The state is now reporting 206 outbreaks in Colorado.
No facilities have seen more confirmed cases or deaths than the Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora, with 103 confirmed cases between staff and residents and 26 confirmed deaths.
Kim Cress’ 89-year-old mother lives at that facility. She is healthy, but Cress is worried about whether proper protocols are being followed.
“I just have to assume they’re not going to give me any information. My trust level is zero,” Cress said, although Cress says communication from Cherry Creek Nursing Center has improved recently.
That concern is also shared by Susan Gross. Her aunt Suzy lives at Denver North Care Center, where there are also confirmed COVID cases.
Like all families with loved ones in care facilities, she can’t visit her aunt and must trust that employees are doing everything they can.
“We have to rely on their word,” Gross said. “We rely on our aunt and what she says but with her being mentally ill, we can’t always rely on that information being passed down to us.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued 156 citations to residential care facilities. The most common violations include not following personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines, improper hand washing and a failure to implement social distancing guidelines.
“The majority of residents there (Denver North Care Center) are mentally ill, so getting them to follow protocol has to be like herding cats,” Gross said.
That’s why many families are so concerned, worried a lack of protocols, coupled with a vulnerable population, could spell trouble for the health of their loved ones.
At this point, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is not identifying which facilities have received citations, but it does say it is investigating facilities that have had a history of infection control concerns.