Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities throughout the US are seeing a spike in COVID-19 positive cases, a trend that unfortunately is playing out at Dade Health and Rehab.
On November 2, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) issued a press release regarding an increase in positive COVID cases in nursing home facilities.
“Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise,” the press release said. “According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 61 percent to 391,527 new cases the week of October 18. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.”
Mark Parkinson is President and CEO or AHCA and the National Center for Assisted Living, or NCAL.
“As we feared, the sheer volume of rising cases in communities across the U.S., combined with the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus, has unfortunately led to an increase in new COVID cases in nursing homes.” Parkinson said. “It is incredibly frustrating as we had made tremendous progress to reduce COVID rates in nursing homes after the spike this summer in Sun Belt states. If everybody would wear a mask and social distance to reduce the level of COVID in the community, we know we would dramatically reduce these rates in long term care facilities.”
Dade Health and Rehab was doing better than most facilities with a totally COVID-free facility until the end of August when an employee tested positive and went into quarantine, but was asymptomatic according to a post on the facility’s Facebook page. Dade Health and Rehab continued regular testing of staff and patients and had a scare in early September when a small number of tests for a patient and some employees came back positive. Two re-tests proved the results were false positives.
Just as the facility was looking at re-opening, on October 22, Dade Health and Rehab announced an employee tested positive and was sent home immediately to quarantine. Plans for outdoor visits with residents set to begin in November were put on hold. A day later a resident tested positive for COVID-19 and was put in quarantine.
Numbers of positive tests continued as October drew to an end. On October 27, Dade Health and Rehab posted to their Facebook page another family update.
“Family Update: As of now, we’ve had eight other residents test positive for COVID-19. This makes a total of nine residents. These residents are isolated in our COVID unit and are away from other residents. As mentioned in a previous update, we cannot disclose patient information with anyone other than the Responsible Party. The family members of the nine residents have already been made aware. Thank you for your continued support.”
Just three days later, on October 30, the facility posted another update.
“Family Update: As of right now, during our facility-wide testing, we have 15 additional residents and 3 additional staff memebers that have tested positive for COVID-19. ￼All positive residents are isolated and away from other residents in the designated COVID units. Please know that we are working diligently to protect our residents and stop the spread of this virus within our facility. If you have any questions or would like an update of your loved one, please don’t hesitate to call. Our nurses will also notify the residents’ Responsible Party if there is a change in their condition. We thank you for all the prayers and continued support you have shown.”
Again, Dade Health and Rehab is not alone with the trend repeating in nursing homes and care facilities across the nation. Additional help for facilities may not be quick to come as the ACHA is reporting most of the $175 billion in CARES Act monies sent to the Provider Relief Fund have been allocated out. Parkinson is advocating that Congress work on providing more funding and “prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents”.
“Congress must fulfill its duty. Health care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, are already experiencing an uptick in new COVID cases, and they need every possible resource heading into what promises to be a challenging winter,” Parkinson said. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”
Attempts were made to contact Adminstration at Dade Health and Rehab in order to determine if they had any needs.
The facility remains on lockdown with COVID procedures in place and is closed to outside visitors. County Executive Ted Rumley praised Dade Health and Rehab and their staff for the job they have done at keeping COVID at Bay for so long and the job they continue to do as the care for patients with the virus. Rumley said the facility administration has been very good to keep the county updated on what happens there.
“They’ve done a jam up job,” Rumley said.
(Pictured Above: With patients isolated from family, friends, and the community and staff working hard to keep everyone healthy – the facility celebrated the staff and delights residents with decorations this summer. Community volunteers have arranged food and treats for staff and residents as well as outdoor decorations to enjoy from their windows for each season.)