COVID-19 a continuing concern at nursing homes

By OLIVIA INGLE
oingle@dcherald.com

The state started reporting COVID-19 nursing home data last week, however, the data is presented in a way to protect privacy, thus limiting what is shared.

The Herald decided to reach out to local nursing homes, asking them to share the number of cases they have experienced at their facilities.

As of this morning at St. Charles Health Campus in Jasper, 18 of the facility’s 89 residents and nine of its 97 employees are currently presumed positive for COVID-19. The campus has also reported two recoveries and two deaths, although the data for each does not specify whether they were residents or staff.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Charles has followed infection protocols that were put into place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and local and state health officials, according to a statement from Trilogy Health Services, which operates the campus. These include things like abiding by strict visitor policies; screening individuals who enter the facility, including employees, pharmacy providers and other medically essential vendors; monitoring resident and employee temperatures and signs and symptoms of COVID-19; among other things.

“We take these precautions extremely seriously,” said Leigh Ann Barney, Trilogy president and CEO. “The health and well-being of our residents and employees has been, and continues to be, our top priority. It’s heartbreaking that despite all of our proactive measures, COVID-19 still found a way into St. Charles. We will continue to relentlessly pursue our mission of caring for and protecting those who remain in our care.”

The campus has also put into place a policy requiring at least one negative COVID-19 test result for a resident to be admitted or readmitted into the campus.

The COVID-19 data for St. Charles and all of Trilogy Health Services’ facilities can be found at www.trilogyhs.com/covid-19.

Scenic Hills at the Monastery in Ferdinand, which is also owned by Trilogy, has reported two COVID-19 cases, although that data also does not specify whether the cases were residents or staff.

At Brookside Village in Jasper, two residents and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from facility administrator Wendy Broughton.

“As a family-centered organization, we value the lives and safety of our residents and our associates,” she said. “In this spirit, we continue to take protective measures to manage the impact of this virus in our senior living community, and we continue to regularly share information regarding COVID-19 cases with our residents, their loved ones and our caregivers.

Brookside is also following guidance from the CDC, CMS and the Indiana State Department of Health.

“Through a partnership with IU Health, we expanded our testing capabilities early in the fight against COVID-19,” Broughton said. “Our expanded testing allows us to confirm cases of COVID-19 quickly, and make timely and appropriate decisions regarding isolation to help minimize the spread of the virus. All associates were tested during the last two weeks of June and both associates and residents will continue to be tested when symptomatic and/or when identified through contact tracing.”

All of Brookside’s residents are cared for in color-coded zones in order to isolate and contain the virus. The green zone is for residents showing no signs or symptoms, those who have tested negative and those who have recovered. The yellow zone is for new admissions or residents returning from the hospital that are not COVID-19 positive. The red zone is for residents who are currently COVID-19 positive.

“The staff at Brookside Village has continued to provide the highest quality care and support to our residents,” Broughton said. “Our entire team remains committed to our residents and our associates. And we are so grateful for the amazing support from the Jasper community.”

There is currently one active case of COVID-19 at The Timbers of Jasper in an employee, according to data on the facility’s website.

It’s parent company, American Senior Communities, said in a statement: “As long-term care facilities nationwide continue to feel the devastating impact of COVID-19, The Timbers of Jasper has remained focused on the health and safety of residents and employees. Given the unprecedented critical needs of residents, The Timbers of Jasper implemented best practices for clinical care and infection control, conducting comprehensive testing and providing daily, proactive communication to residents, their designated representatives and employees.”

You can view The Timbers’ COVID-19 data at www.ASCCare.com/toj.

At Good Samaritan Society’s Northwood Retirement Community in Jasper, eight residents and five staff members contracted COVID-19 in early June. The facility also reported the death of a resident from the virus around that time.

According to Northwood Administrator Diane Jones, the facility has not had any additional cases since.

“Northwood Retirement Center employees continue to use vigorous infection control methods, as advised by health officials,” she said. “The health and safety of our residents, employees and the community we serve remains our highest priority.”

In early June, a contract employee at Cathedral Health Care Center in Jasper tested positive for the virus. The facility has not reported any cases since.

Legacy Living of Jasper hasn’t had any cases, according to state data. The Waters of Huntingburg hasn’t yet submitted its data to the state, and a call to its parent company, Infinity Health Care Management of Indiana, was not returned.




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