9 positive COVID-19 cases identified at one Colorado Springs senior care center, 2 deaths

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - 11 News has learned nine people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a single senior living center in Colorado Springs. Two of those people have died.

We first reported the outbreak of six patients testing positive on March 19. 11 News learned about the additional cases and deaths on Tuesday.

11 News started looking into the reports surrounding the Laurel Manor Care Center off Chelton near Fountain Boulevard on March 19. El Paso County Public Health confirmed the news that night.

“As a public health agency, we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health director. “Our team became aware of these additional cases late this afternoon [March 19] and took immediate action to coordinate efforts with Laurel Manor Care Center and state partners to assess the situation and respond appropriately.”

El Paso County Public Health officials say they are working diligently to ensure ill patients are receiving the proper care while limiting further spread of disease. Proactive efforts are focused on identifying, isolating and testing all of those who may be at risk because of these new cases.

“Continued practice of social distancing and good respiratory hygiene is essential. With these efforts we can all help protect the people in our community who are most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health medical director.

11 News also reached out to the company tied to the living center, Volunteers of America when we first learned of the outbreak.

Communications Director for Volunteers of America David Burch sent the following to 11 News on Tuesday:

"Currently, we have seven residents who have tested positive, one of whom is now in the hospital and the others are quarantined at the center. Two additional residents who tested positive have passed away. All of these residents were part of the initial group who showed symptoms and were tested. Results from three of the nine tests were delayed, which is why we initially only announced six positive. So the number of individuals who are infected hasn’t gone up, just the number of positive tests we’ve received back."

Burch included safety precautions they've taken:
·Providing necessary Personal Protective Equipment
·Following procedures as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
·Screening all Laurel Manor residents and monitoring them for symptoms and fever frequently throughout the day
·Screening all employees for symptoms and fever immediately upon entrance to Laurel Manor; employees with any symptoms will be immediately sent home.
·Outside visitation is restricted to only end of life situations and visitors will be screened and not allowed to enter Laurel Manor if they have any symptoms or fever.
·Increasing the frequency of disinfection of surfaces, equipment, resident rooms and other areas of our building

"We have also quarantined everyone living at Laurel Manor, currently 69 residents,' Burch added. "The residents who have tested positive are all in the memory care area, which is separate and locked from the rest of the facility."

If you have questions about coronavirus in Colorado, call CO HELP at 1-877-462-2911. If you live in El Paso County you can call 719-575-8888.