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Fourteen Longmont firefighters tested positive for COVID-19 late last month, but are expected to be cleared from isolation early next week.

The outbreak was one of six reported Wednesday by the state, with a seventh identified by the county, this week. Meanwhile, Boulder County reported Thursday that there were 105 new coronavirus cases.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s updated weekly coronavirus outbreak report showed that the new outbreaks occurred at the Longmont Fire Department; Nexus Controls, a Baker Hughes business; Balfour Senior Living in Longmont; Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten; Homestar Child Development Center, and a learning pod in Boulder. The county confirmed a seventh outbreak at Wyatt’s Wet Goods Wine and Spirits in Longmont. The state defines an outbreak as two or more people who are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a workplace or facility within 14 days.

Longmont’s Fire Services Division Interim Deputy Chief Dan Higgins said the 14 firefighters tested positive for the virus over the course of roughly a week in late December.  Although, he said, it doesn’t appear that all of those cases are related to one event or person.

“Without divulging any personal information, all of our firefighters are doing well at this time, and all should be cleared from isolation within the next few days,” Higgins wrote in an email. “Those who tested positive, and any co-workers who were potentially exposed have been kept off-duty until their isolation and quarantine periods are complete.”

The state reported that the outbreak at the Longmont Fire Department was determined on Jan. 1.

The outbreak affected more than one station. Higgins noted that firefighters work at different stations on a regular basis. Firefighters at four different stations — 1, 2, 3 and 6 — tested positive for the virus.

“It appears that the isolations and quarantines have been effective in controlling this situation,” Higgins wrote. “If things continue as they are now, we should be past this by early next week.  We continue to follow the State and Boulder County guidelines, and are monitoring the situation closely.”

Higgins said that service levels have not been affected and that the fire department has been able to manage staffing with firefighters working overtime shifts to cover the those quarantining.

The outbreak at Nexus Controls, a Baker Hughes business in Longmont, was determined on Jan. 4, according to state data. There were 21 total staff cases, the data showed.

Hannah Pence, corporate affairs director with the firm, released a statement in response to the outbreak, which said that as cases were identified, the company initiated contact tracing, additional cleaning, reporting, and ensured that the employees received care, including medical and paid leave, to properly recover. The digital solutions company, an essential business, is located at 1800 Nelson Road.

“Our employees at our Longmont site who contracted COVID-19, contracted it off site, and we have had a total of 21 cases since March 2020,” the statement read.

“Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, our top priority has been protecting the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities, and we have taken proactive steps to minimize the risk of exposure at our sites,” the statement read. “We are continuing to closely monitor the situation and adapt our approach as needed to ensure the health and safety of our teams.”

The outbreak at the Balfour Senior Living, an assisted living community at 1850 S. Hover St., was determined on Jan 4, according to the state. There were four total cases, split between one resident and three staff members, state data showed. Representatives from Balfour didn’t respond to request for comment by deadline.

Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten’s outbreak was determined on Jan. 1, according to the state. There was one staff case and three attendee cases, state data showed.

Linda Abelkis, school director, said that the early child learning center, 4072 19th St. in Boulder, has been working closely with Boulder County Public Health for guidelines and support.

Abelkis said that two people tested positive on Dec. 16, just before the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten’s scheduled two-week winter break on Dec. 19.

“As soon as we got those positive tests, they were both in the same class, we closed that class for the remainder of the week,” she said. “We asked all siblings or any other household members to stay home from school for the reminder of the week.”

The other two people tested positive over the break, she said. Abelkis said that the four people have since recovered and that the class has been re-opened.

“We feel like we’ve put an end to that cycle,” Abelkis said. “That two-week break couldn’t have come at a better time.  You never know for sure where it was transmitted, because of the asymptomatic folks, but we are pretty certain, based on some contact tracing and known exposures with the children and that staff member that it was not transmitted at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten.”

The Homestar Child Development Center’s outbreak was reported Jan. 1, the state data showed. There were two staff cases reported, data showed. The day care center, 3280 Dartmouth Ave. in Boulder, didn’t respond to request for comment by publication deadline.

A learning pod in Boulder had a determined outbreak on Dec. 29, state data showed. There were five attendee cases and one staff case, according to state data.

Chana Goussetis, Boulder County Public Health spokesperson, said that the children in the pod were in the first grade.

“A group of four children from three families and their teacher who spend time together in a private learning group tested positive for COVID-19 after the teacher showed symptoms in mid-December,” Goussetis wrote in an email. “The group meets at one of the families’ homes and they stopped gathering as soon as symptoms were reported. There has been subsequent spread into two other households.”

Goussetis added that two families in the group refused to be interviewed by Boulder County Public Health, so public health officials don’t have full information about outside exposures or other spread.

“The good news is that no one is currently working outside the home and they are limiting activities in the community,” Goussetis said.

Goussetis also confirmed an outbreak at Wyatt’s Wet Goods Wine and Spirits in Longmont. A representative with the Colorado State Joint Information Center said that the state did not receive that outbreak report in time to include it this week’s update and that the information will be included next week.

Dennis Dinsmore, the liquor store’s managing partner, released a statement saying that three employees tested positive for COVID-19: one on Dec. 28; one on Jan. 2; and one on Jan. 6.  Two of those employees had no customer contact and the third had an “extremely limited brief encounter.” He added that he believes the virus was spread through an outside source and not in the store.

Dinsmore wrote that the store, 1250 Hover St., was closed Sunday and all employees were tested. Those tests all came back negative, Dinsmore said. He said staff members who could have been exposed were re-tested on Thursday and will need to receive a negative result before they can return to work.

“We have sanitized all work areas daily and have used (an) Electrostatic Sprayer multiple times this last week as a preventative measure and will continue in the future,” the statement read. “We have multiple staff whose job is to consistently disinfect carts, baskets, door handles, counter tops, credit card machines. We ask patrons to use the edge of their cards instead of pens to sign credit transactions, limiting what contact they have.”

A Facebook post on the business’ page on Jan. 4 alerted customers that an employee had tested positive for the virus. The post apologized for the inconvenience of the store’s closure earlier.

Dinsmore noted in his statement that the store offers non-contact delivery and pick-up options for customers.

Including the Wyatt’s outbreak, there are 51 active outbreaks in Boulder County.

To date, Boulder County Public Health has reported 15,538 positive or probable cases — 105 more cases than Wednesday’s total. The county’s death toll remained at 184. There have been 426 people hospitalized. Hospitalizations remained stagnant for the second day in a row, with 51 people in the hospital on Thursday. The county also reported a five-day average of 119.6 new cases among Boulder County residents.

The University of Colorado Boulder reported on its online coronavirus dashboard that during testing on Wednesday there were six positive test results. There were also 96 diagnostic tests and 387 monitoring tests taken. Since the start of the school year on Aug. 24, the university has reported 1,754 positive results; 16,392 diagnostic tests; and 75,917 monitoring tests.

Boulder Valley School District reported on its online coronavirus dashboard that there were two positive cases and one probable case.

The St. Vrain Valley School District reported 27 active cases, split between 16 students and 11 staff. The district has seen a cumulative 397 student cases and 182 staff cases, totaling 579.

Statewide, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that there are 352,923 cases. There have been 5,102 deaths among cases, and of those, there have 4,107 deaths due to COVID-19. There have been 19,734 people hospitalized. Of Colorado’s more than 5.7 million people, there have been 2,207,688 people tested.


Boulder Valley Active cases

BVSD elementary schools:

  • Douglass: 1
  • Pioneer: 1

BVSD departments:

  • Culinary center: 1

St. Vrain Valley active cases

SVVSD elementary schools:

  • Alpine: 1
  • Centennial: 1
  • Central: 1
  • Eagle Crest: 1
  • Fall River: 1
  • Indian Peaks: 3
  • Legacy: 2
  • Northridge: 1
  • Rocky Mountain: 2

SVVSD middle schools:

  • Trail Ridge: 1

SVVSD high schools:

  • Erie: 1
  • Frederick: 1
  • Lyons Middle Senior: 1
  • Mead: 1
  • Niwot: 2
  • Silver Creek: 1

Other campuses:

  • Spark Discovery Preschool: 1
  • Thunder Valley PK-8: 2
  • Timberline PK-8: 2
  • Central Administration: 1

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