Second SPRHC employee tests positive for COVID-19

Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center
Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center in Walsenburg.

UPDATE (9/24, 5 p.m.): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment e-mailed the following response to the World Journal, which said that the SPRHC COVID-19 case does not constitute an outbreak.

We currently define an outbreak in a residential care facility as two or more residents with COVID-19 within 14 days. Although this facility is not classified as an outbreak, public health still responds quickly and thoroughly to any case of COVID-19 at residential care facilities. Public health staff will work with the facility to mitigate spread of the virus and to ensure proper infection control measures are in place. 

UPDATE (9/24, 3 p.m.): The following press release was received Thursday afternoon from Debbie Channel, SPRHC public information officer:

Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center received confirmation this morning, Thursday, September 24, from the State Health Department there is a positive COVID-19 employee.  The employee is an asymptomatic male in his 30’s who is isolating at home.

The positive test was identified as part of our weekly testing protocol. The facility has been performing COVID nasal swab testing on all Living Center and Swing Bed unit staff members for the past 14 weeks. The goal for the testing is to quickly identify and isolate any positive cases. 

Per CMS guidelines all residents and staff were tested within 48 hours of notification of the positive test. At this time the Health Department is conducting a surveillance investigation to determine where and when the employee contracted the virus.  Persons identified have or will be notified and requested to quarantine at home.

We are committed to protect our residents, patients and staff and will continue to adhere to all guidelines including daily screening and all infection control practices.  Anyone entering any of the hospital facilities is required to wear a mask and is screened through a questionnaire and temperature check. 

With Huerfano County experiencing 20 confirmed positive cases, it is critical for everyone to heed the safety rules in place. Wear your mask, distance as much as possible, wash your hands, minimize group size, get a flu shot and stay home when sick.  

If you have been exposed, please isolate yourself as much as possible.  If you are having symptoms, please call your provider for instructions on what to do.  

Filed 9/24, 11:30 a.m.

by Mark Craddock

The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center confirmed Thursday that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19. The case is a man in his 30s who is asymptomatic and isolating at home, according to SPRHC spokesperson Deb Channel.

This is the second positive test at the facility, which each week tests all employees whose work brings them in proximity to residents at the Veterans’ Community Living Facility, Channel said. On Sept. 7, an employee, a woman in her 30s, tested positive for the virus.

Channel said the hospital has been in contact with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), but does not yet know if this case will be considered an outbreak.

The CDPHE defines an outbreak as “two or more people who are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a workplace/facility, with onset within 14 days.”

Sixteen days have elapsed from the confirmation of the first positive test and the results of the most recent case.

In addition to CDPHE, Channel said the facility has been in contact with the Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine how best to proceed.

“It’s very frightening,” Channel said. “We’re waiting for guidance through CMS and others, purely for the sake of safety.”