Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle records 15 COVID-19 deaths among residents |

Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle records 15 COVID-19 deaths among residents

Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle. File photo

A state-run nursing home in Rifle has so far accumulated 15 patient deaths caused by COVID-19, a Colorado department spokesperson confirms.

Colorado Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Director of Communications Madlynn Ruble said the deaths are suspected of stemming from the facility’s “memory care neighborhood.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to control the actions of some residents,” she said. “We can’t lock them in their rooms. This is not the quality of life.”

According to a previous email sent to the Post Independent, Ruble stated the nursing home quickly and the residents who succumbed had multiple comorbidities and were very elderly.

The first two deaths at the home came on Nov. 25 and Dec. 1. They involved a male, 98, and female, 96.

On the flipside, the E. Dene Moore Care Center, which is adjacent to the veterans nursing home on Fifth Street, has so far recorded four total COVID-19-related deaths amongst its population.

The Post Independent previously reported in early December 2020, that Elizabeth Mullins, division director of the statewide Veterans Community Living Centers, said staff at the Rifle veterans homes continue to wear personal protective equipment, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDPHE.

She said the facility also continues to work closely with CDPHE twice a week to review ongoing infection control policies in order to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, facility residents and staff are regularly tested, and staff receive daily antigen testing due to the high prevalence rate of COVID-19 in Garfield County, she further stated.

Amid the most recent deaths, however, Ruble said the veterans living center has now vaccinated 86% — or 25 people — of the patient population. Meanwhile, 51 staffers — or 46% — have also been vaccinated.

To further mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Ruble said the facility continues to take precautions.

According to the email, this includes:

“Enhanced infection control precautions, daily Binax testing of care staff, twice weekly PCR testing of all staff and residents, not allowing outdoor visitors, limited small group activities or meals with a (minimum of 6 feet) between people, meet weekly CDPHE to consult on outbreak–currently in resolving status.”


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