AARP Recognizes Colorado as Model for Addressing COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

Monday, November 2, 2020

DENVER -  The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recognized Colorado as a model for addressing the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. AARP has launched a new Nursing Home Dashboard with state-by-state data showing Colorado’s progress mitigating spread in long-term care facilities. 

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition from one of the nation’s most distinguished organizations focused on addressing issues affecting older Americans,” said Governor Polis. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for seniors living in nursing homes. While we are still fighting this virus, it is heartening to know that our Residential Care Strike Team is now being used as a national model.”

In its initial assessment, analyzing data through Sept. 20, Colorado fared significantly better than the U.S. national average in three critical categories:

  • Nursing Home Resident Cases (per 100 residents, four weeks ending Sept. 20):

    • Colorado: 1 per 100 residents.

    • National state average: 2.6 per 100 residents.

  • Nursing Home Resident Deaths (per 100 residents, four weeks ending Sept. 20): 

    • Colorado: 0.17 per 100 residents.

    • National state average: 0.48 per 100 residents.

  • Nursing Home Staff Cases (per 100 residents, four weeks ending Sept. 20):

    • Colorado: 0.9 per 100 residents.

National state average: 2.5 per 100 residents. 

“I commend Gov. Jared Polis and CDPHE, and specifically the Residential Care Strike Team, for their leadership as national models for proactively addressing a difficult situation,” said Bob Murphy, the State Director of AARP Colorado. 

“We have made tremendous progress reducing COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, thanks in large part to decisive action taken by the Residential Care Strike Team back in May,” said Randy Kuykendall, CDPHE director of health facilities. “The Strike Team will continue to meet and make recommendations for as long as the virus remains a threat in group-living settings.” 

The Residential Care Strike Team was formed in May and immediately set to work addressing five main areas: testing, enforcement and education, increased access to personal protective equipment, isolation plans, and staffing improvements. 

In the U.S. more than 84,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, representing 40 percent of all COVID-19 fatalities in the nation, according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent analysis released October 8. 

Additional data points providing more information about each category in the AARP Nursing Home Dashboard are available online at