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Fort Collins church, nursing home report larger COVID-19 outbreaks

Pat Ferrier
Fort Collins Coloradoan

Eight new COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in Larimer County this week, with locations including a Fort Collins church and a Fort Collins skilled nursing facility.

Larimer County's volume of active COVID-19 outbreaks stayed flat at 69 this week, as eight outbreaks shifted to resolved status. Among the resolved outbreaks were two of the largest outbreaks in the county, both at senior living facilities: Lemay Avenue Health & Rehabilitation in Fort Collins and North Shore Health & Rehab Facility in Loveland.

Vintage City Church, 1501 Academy Court, Fort Collins, shut down in-person church services for two weeks after an outbreak was confirmed Jan. 28.

The first positive COVID-19 case showed up much earlier at the church, however.

Vintage City Church Lead Pastor Greg Sanders posted a message on the church’s Facebook page Jan. 26 announcing they had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the team. He canceled in-person gatherings and services Jan. 17 and Jan. 24  and, as per county guidelines, went into mandatory quarantine.

Dr. Paul Mayer speaks to Teddie Maphet, 92, before she receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Salud Family Health in Fort Collins, Colo. on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

“We want to keep you all safe and we want to do our job to walk well within our city,” Sanders said on the Facebook message. Quoting Jeremiah, he said “if all goes well in our city, it goes well for you.”

So much of what's written in scripture, he said, “calls us to be an asset to our culture and be an asset to the cities we live in. We are working to observe their requests and their standards, so, no in person gatherings” on Jan. 17 and 24.  

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According to the Facebook post, church services were to resume Jan. 31, but COVID cases grew to 11 — eight staff and three church members, according to state data. The church’s website lists 10 staff members in addition to co-lead pastors Greg and Belinda Sanders.

There was no indication whether services went on in person Sunday or will take place on Feb. 6. Repeated email and voicemail messages to the church were not returned.

It is the third outbreak at a church or religious facility since the pandemic began, according to county data.

Churches were not subject to the same capacity limits as other businesses after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned limits on in-person worship following a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

After that ruling, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado's state health department lifted capacity restrictions on in-person church services. The state's high court in December issued a similar ruling after an Ault church challenged capacity restrictions. 

While some nursing homes and assisted living centers decreased their COVID-19 infections, others continue to see increased cases.

Golden Peaks Center, 1005 E. Elizabeth St., has been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak for a month, but the state first reported five positive cases on Wednesday. 

The center, owned by Pennsylvania-based Genesis HealthCare, has had 34 residents and 15 staff members test positive and three residents die from COVID-19, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Feifer said in an email.  

Get the latest:Larimer County and Colorado COVID-19 case, vaccine and hospital data for February 2021

As of Thursday, the center still had 11 residents and four staff members with active COVID-19. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19 during this difficult time, especially the families" of the residents who died, Feifer said. 

This is Golden Peaks' first outbreak since the virus took hold in Larimer County nearly a year ago. It is unclear why the outbreak just showed up in state and county data. The state did not respond to emails seeking comment. 

CVS held its first vaccine clinic at Golden Peaks on Jan. 13 and was expected to hold two more clinics three to four weeks apart. 

Cases at Spring Creek Health Care Center, owned by SAVA, grew to 56, including two deaths, up from 45 cases a week ago and 37 the week before. 

Spokesperson Annaliese Impink was not immediately available for comment. 

The other six newly reported outbreaks this week had two to three confirmed cases each, according to state data. Locations included: an unidentified home daycare site, Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins, Fort Collins-based Mill Brothers Landscape Group, Sam's Club in Fort Collins, Western States Bank in Fort Collins and CDS Engineering in Loveland.

Outbreaks grew at Ravencrest Bible School in Estes Park (from 32 cases last week to 40 this week, with nine of those cases among staff and 31 among students) and Larimer County Community Corrections (from 11 last week to 18 this week, with 11 of those cases among staff and seven among residents).

County spokesperson Michelle Bird said Friday the number of clients testing positive as of Tuesday was up to 12 with the staff number remaining at 11. 

The most recent spike in cases occurred in an intake quarantine room from a resident coming in to the facility, Bird said. All of the current positive clients were already in quarantine, so Community Corrections believes the outbreak has been contained. 

There are currently about 40 CommCorr clients in quarantine, including new residents, and those who have been exposed. 

All staff members have recovered and are back at work, she said. 

"However, we know that until widespread vaccination of the general population occurs, a portion of our intake population will enter our facility infectious or exposed," Bird said. "We continue to work closely with the Larimer County health department to develop processes designed for early detection and management of these cases."

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All CommCorr staff has been given the opportunity to be vaccinated, and those who chose to have received their first shot and will receive their second shot the week of Feb. 15. The only residents who have been vaccinated are those age 70 and over or who work in the medical field and have been included in the first phase of vaccinations. 

The state has not said when community corrections facilities will begin to receive vaccinations. 

The number of cases associated with active outbreaks in the county dropped about 15% since last week, from 1,517 to 1,288, due largely in part to a few large nursing home outbreaks shifting to resolved. Cases associated with Colorado State University stayed flat at 1,714 in the state data, although that's likely due to a reporting lag. The university's COVID-19 dashboard shows more up-to-date data with a steady influx of new cases since spring semester started.

Active COVID-19 outbreaks in Larimer County

Note: Asterisks indicate outbreaks newly reported since Jan. 28. Bold entries indicate outbreaks with 10 or more confirmed and probable cases, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

  • Anheuser Busch Brewery, Fort Collins
  • Aqua Spas (retailer), Fort Collins
  • Berthoud Living Center senior living provider
  • Blevins Middle School, Fort Collins
  • Blue Spruce Temporary Shelter, Fort Collins
  • Broadcom Inc., Fort Collins
  • Canyon Bakehouse (food manufacturing and packaging facility), Johnstown
  • *CDS Engineering, Loveland
  • Center at Rock Creek skilled nursing facility, Fort Collins
  • Centre Avenue Health and Rehab, Fort Collins
  • Cheba Hut, Fort Collins (925 S. Taft Hill Road)
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbine West Health & Rehab Facility: November 2020
  • Costco, Timnath
  • Courtyard of Loveland Assisted Living
  • Creative Foam (manufacturing/warehouse), Berthoud
  • DaVinci Sign Systems LLC, Windsor
  • Dunn Real Estate, Fort Collins
  • Elk Ridge Dentistry, Estes Park
  • Fort Collins Health Care Center senior living center
  • Fort Collins High School
  • Fort Collins Police Services
  • Fossil Ridge High School, Fort Collins
  • Garden Square at Spring Creek assisted living, Fort Collins
  • Glen Companies, Loveland
  • *Golden Peaks Center skilled nursing facility, Fort Collins (Note: This outbreak includes fewer than 10 cases in the state and county data, but representatives of the facility say it includes more than 10.)
  • Group Publishing, Loveland
  • Henry's Pub, Loveland
  • *Home daycare site #1 (no location provided)
  • I-Kota Construction - Mason Place job site, Fort Collins
  • JMP Heat Inc., Loveland
  • *Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School, Fort Collins
  • La Luna Dairy, Wellington
  • Larimer County Community Corrections
  • Larimer County Jail
  • Liberty Common High School, Fort Collins
  • Loveland Youth Clinic
  • *Mill Brothers Landscape Group
  • Nike Factory Store, Loveland
  • Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies, Fort Collins
  • Panhandler's Pizza, Fort Collins
  • Parry's Pizza, Johnstown
  • Ravencrest Bible School, Estes Park
  • Resurrection Christian School, Loveland
  • Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins
  • *Sam's Club, Fort Collins
  • Sam's Club, Loveland
  • Scheels, Johnstown
  • Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, Fort Collins
  • South Shields Dental, Fort Collins
  • Specialty Appliance, Fort Collins
  • Spring Creek Healthcare Center, Fort Collins
  • Studio West Dance Center, Fort Collins
  • Sugar Valley Estates independent living facility, Loveland
  • The Green House Homes at Mirasol skilled nursing facility, Loveland
  • The Home Depot, Fort Collins (4502 John F Kennedy Parkway)
  • The Home Depot, Loveland (1100 Nickel Drive)
  • The Home Depot, Fort Collins (1251 E. Magnolia St.)
  • The Rock Inn, Estes Park
  • The Wild Rose Food & Spirits, Estes Park
  • Trader Joe's, Fort Collins
  • Trumpet Behavioral Health, Fort Collins
  • Trumpet Behavioral Health, Loveland
  • *Vintage City Church, Fort Collins
  • Wally's Speed Shop, Loveland
  • Walmart, Loveland (250 W. 65th St.)
  • Walmart, Fort Collins (1250 E. Magnolia St.) 
  • Walmart Distribution Center, Loveland
  • *Western States Bank, Fort Collins

Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at patferrier@coloradoan.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.