Chaffee County closed to visitors; 41 people at Salida nursing home test positive for COVID-19

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SALIDA, Colo. (KDVR) — Chaffee County is banning visitors until further notice. Andrea Carlstrom, the county’s public health director, made the announcement via Facebook.

The decision comes as 41 people at a nursing home in Salida — the county seat — have tested positive for COVID-19. Three people at the facility have died from the virus.

The 32 positive cases among residents represent nearly half of the population at Columbine Manor Care Center. Another nine workers are also infected.

Metta Bernice Norton, 96, is one of the three residents who died from the virus.

Her daughter Lynda Shelman said, “She was a very healthy lady. But they had feeling that when she caught this virus, she might not make it through. And she didn’t.”

Norton’s family says Columbine was quarantined in early March.

One hallway was closed off just for COVID-19 patients.

“They were trying to stop it (COVID-19) before it got here,” said Shelman. 

In a statement, the center’s executive director Joshua Finger said in part, “We continue to follow CDC guidelines” and that Columbine is also working with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and is committed to “follow their guidance.”

Norton’s death marks the the loss of a great woman in small-town Colorado.

Holding back tears, Shelman said, “I was just heartbroken. I was really heartbroken.”

Several results are pending on other workers at Columbine Manor. 

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