Coronavirus outbreak confirmed at Rocky Ford nursing home


Pioneer Health Nursing home in Otero is the site of a coronavirus outbreak.

ROCKY FORD, Colo. — The Colorado National Guard is helping with coronavirus testing at a Rocky Ford nursing home after dozens of people there tested positive for the virus, according to the county health department.

The outbreak started July 13 at Pioneer Health Care Center. The health department said as of Friday morning, seventeen residents and eight staff members have tested positive for the virus. Five residents who tested positive for the virus have died, according to the health department.

The health department thanked the Colorado National Guard for coming to the facility Friday to help with mass testing of residents and staff.

The nursing home issued the following statement:

We appreciate the opportunity to address the recent presence of COVID 19 at our facility.  First and foremost, our primary focus is providing professional, loving care, while taking measures to promote the safety and wellbeing of our residents, staff and community.  As we’ve all learned by now, this pandemic that has reach all corners of the earth and excludes no one.  We’ve also all learned from data collected by global and local health agencies that this strain of virus disproportionately affects the elder population and those with underlying comorbidities.  And for us here at Pioneer, those are the folks we attend and care for as health providers.  We are working closely with the CDC, both the state and local departments of public health, and the national guard to ensure we are following protocols and procedure to maintain infection control to the best of our abilities. We are testing all staff and residents weekly to ensure we are aware of all positive cases, and have measures to screen staff each day.  Nearly all of our staff have remained as consistent care-giving heroes on our front line thoughout these past few months. We can trace the timing of our outbreak to the reintroduction of allowed visitation of residents and we struggle to balance the residents rights to not abide by restrictions, quarantine and wearing of masks with safety of the facility.  The deaths that have occurred were attributed to the residents comorbities as opposed to COIVD, per the county coroner.  The individuals who passed were also advanced in age, so they exhibited two of the features that this virus seems to affect over others. Our community has rallied around our efforts and extended understanding and patience in such a difficult time and we hope to continue to show we work tirelessly to fight for the health of their loved ones.

The nursing home outbreak is one of three outbreaks currently active in Otero County. The state health department defines an outbreak as two or more confirmed cases of the virus in the same facility within 14 days. The other two active outbreaks are at Learn Thru Play Children’s Kiddieland and Lewis Bolt & Nut Company in La Junta.

In their update Friday, the county health department said 98 employees at Lewis Bolt and Nut recently tested negative for the virus.

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