Virus Outbreak Colorado

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., left, confers with company representative Bartosz Koszowski, of Baltimore, during a tour of a Battelle N95 mask cleaning system to clean and disinfect respirators for the removal of the coronavirus in a building on the Adams County Fairgrounds Friday, May 8, 2020, in Henderson, Colo. 

(The Center Square) – Colorado's congressional delegation cosigned a letter asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for expanded personal protective equipment availability and deliveries to senior living facilities through June and July of this year.

The letter, signed by every member of the state's congressional delegation, noted that the devastating effects of the pandemic make it critically important to expand criteria that govern which facilities receive supplies to include assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities. The agency has already delivered or has scheduled PPE orders to Colorado nursing home on May 18 and the following week, the letter, sent May 19, also noted.

“Since the beginning of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, senior living facilities have been the epicenter of both outbreaks and deaths in Colorado and across the country,” the joint letter read. “COVID-19 linked deaths in Colorado’s senior living facilities continue to be the single largest contributor to COVID-19 fatalities in our state, representing approximately 61 percent of total deaths. According to some reports, Colorado has experienced as many as 105 deaths in senior congregate living facilities in just one single week.” 

Over 57 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado have occurred in long-term care facilities as of May 6, according to a recent analysis by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.

“Given the unique and devastating effects the COVID-19 outbreak has had on these facilities and the citizens they serve, we request that FEMA regularly continue delivery of PPE supplies to nursing homes in Colorado throughout June and July 2020,” the letter added.

The letter was addressed directly to FEMA administrator Pete T. Gaynor, and copied the regional administrator Lee DePalo, who covers FEMA Region VIII. The region includes Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.