Las Animas County sees 178 new COVID-19 cases since New Year’s Eve; Huerfano County logs four new cases

(Jan. 4, 2021)- Public Health has confirmed 178 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Las Animas County and four additional COVID 19 cases in Huerfano County. As of today, Huerfano County has a total case count of 286 with 16 active cases and 18 deaths. Las Animas County has a total case count of 700 with 232 active cases and seven deaths.

The 178 cases in Las Animas County includes individuals ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s. Many of these cases, local health said, are attributed to the Trinidad Correctional Facility in Model.

(UPDATE 1/4/21 4 p.m.) As of Jan 4, the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) reported that 13 staff members and 194 inmates at the Trinidad Correctional Facility are currently listed as active COVID-19 cases.

In early November, the prison implemented “Phase III” protocols after three staff members and one inmate tested positive for the virus. Three of the prison’s five residential units were placed in quarantine.

On Nov. 19, 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment declared the facility as an active outbreak location.

(UPDATE 1/4/21 5:45 p.m.) CDOC Spokesperson Annie Skinner said late Monday that the facility is still on Phase III operations.  She said the prison currently has 348 inmates on grounds at the facility and 167 staff members who currently work at the facility.

In spite of the outbreak, she said the facility does not have any staffing issues at this time. 

According to CDOC documents, Phase III operations mean that inmates in quarantined and isolated areas must remain in their cells except to shower. 

“The ability to use phones and video visitation may be limited given that they are shared equipment, and could potentially be a spread location,” CDOC documents say. “Outdoor recreation, phone and video visitation will be made available in quarantined units to the extent possible once medical experts believe it is safe to do so, and depending on the extent of the outbreak in the individual facilities and on staffing allowances.”

The four case in Huerfano County includes individuals from their 30s to their 60s.

Public health nurses are continuing case investigations and are notifying those in close contact.