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Nursing home calls 911 for help Christmas morning because of staff shortage

<i>KCNC</i><br/>Saturday morning
Saturday morning

By Michael Abeyta

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    DENVER (KCNC) — It was a tense situation in Denver Christmas morning when a staffing shortage caused the Autumn Heights Care Center to call 911 for help. Saturday morning paramedics were called to the nursing home located at 3131 S Federal Blvd.

A source familiar with the situation says there was one nurse for 50 patients. The Denver Department of Health and Environment could not confirm those numbers, but did say there was a staff shortage.

According to the source, the nurse requested residents be transferred to local hospitals due to COVID. Signs on the door of the care center state they have a COVID outbreak, and the Colorado State Joint Information Center confirmed an outbreak was first reported at this facility on Dec. 18. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment outbreak team has been working with the facility to mitigate and address the outbreak.

DDPHE says they are aware of a COVID outbreak, but didn’t think the call for help was related to it. They say after speaking with paramedics on scene evacuating the patients wouldn’t be a solution. The Denver Health Paramedic Division provided medical assistance at the facility.

Working through a staffing agency, DDPHE and the facility called in some staff to arrive at 2 p.m. Saturday. An ambulance stayed at the facility until the early afternoon to help until the relief nurses arrived.

The Colorado Joint Information Center says they have been in contact with Autumn Heights to ensure they have sufficient staffing and are providing staff through the State Staffing Fusion Center. They say the State’s Staffing Shortage Fusion Center will continue to work with the facility to determine next steps.

No patients were transported to the hospital. CBS4 reached out to the nursing home, but hasn’t heard back.

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