Two residents of Libby Bortz Assisted Living in Littleton have tested positive for COVID-19, and another is awaiting the results of a test, officials said on March 24.
The two confirmed cases have been transferred to a local hospital, said Corey Reitz, the executive director of South Metro Housing Options, which owns the facility. A staff member was also tested but the results were negative, he said.
The Tri-County Health Department had identified a total of six cases in Littleton as of March 24, said Ashley Richter, the department's manager of epidemiology.
The cases at Libby Bortz, a 111-apartment assisted living facility near downtown Littleton, are concerning because of the virus' increased lethality in older people, Richter said.
Senior care facilities are also prone to rapid spread of the virus because residents live in close proximity, Richter said.
Richter said Tri-County Health works in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, or CDPHE, to investigate cases of COVID-19.
A CDPHE spokesman did not address the Libby Bortz cases directly.
"We have a healthcare-acquired infections team, which works with the facility and local public health to assess and make recommendation for infection prevention practices to prevent further spread," spokesman Ian Dickson said in an email.
It's unlikely everyone at Libby Bortz has been tested for the virus, Richter said.
“The more we test everyone, the more tests we take away from those who are sick, who are showing symptoms,” Richter said. “Doctors and hospitals are seeing their own increase in volume, and they need as much help as they can get.”
Reitz, the director of South Metro Housing Options, emailed the following statement:
"In terms of the steps we are taking, we are providing unwavering support for Libby Bortz' residents, staff, and associated community. The facility has implemented the following procedures in response to COVID-19:
· Screening all staff at the beginning of their shifts for fever symptoms and/or a respiratory infection
· Reinforcing sick leave for our staff
· Reinforcing adherence to infection prevention and control measures
· Continuing to reinforce visitor and non-essential service restrictions
· Increased access to hand-hygiene supplies
· Supplying staff with a higher-quality face mask and securing additional resources
· Increased environmental cleaning and disinfection
· Postponing group activities inside the building
· Providing meal service delivery to all resident’s apartments
Libby Bortz has been, and continues to be, closed to the public
As assisted living, our residents live in individual apartments, making separation of residents easier than other types of facilities.
With social distancing guidelines in place, SMHO purchased 12 tablets for residents to have additional opportunities to stay connected with loved ones. The tablets are easily sanitized following each use.
We are also in close contact with the local and state health authorities."
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