County has first cases of COVID in nursing home


The first cases of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility in Union County have been reported.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, as of Friday one resident and one staff member at Prestige Gardens tested positive for COVID-19.
Representatives from Prestige Gardens did not respond to a request for comments prior to press time.
Union County Health Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Thrush said the county formed a Congregate Care Coalition in late April to support congregate settings and prepare for possible COVID outbreaks.
She said the coalition consists of long-term care facilities, like assisted living or nursing homes and detention centers including Ohio Reformatory for Women, West Central Community-Based Correctional Facility and Central Ohio Youth Center.
The facilities are assisted by representatives from the Union County Emergency Management Agency, UCHD, local fire departments and Memorial Hospital.
Thrush said the coalition provided each local long-term care facility with a “preparedness checklist” in early May to ready for the possibility of an outbreak.
In order to prevent spread within vulnerable populations, Thrush said facilities should:
– Disinfect high touch surfaces;
– Increase the frequency of sanitation;
– Practice good hand hygiene policies;
– Ensure staff have access to PPE;
– Enforce staff sick policies that reinforce and allow for employees to stay home when sick;
– Create isolation policies that separate ill persons from healthy persons.
Thrush also provided COVID-19 long-term care facility guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The guidance indicates facilities should use separate staff for COVID-19 patients when possible and designate separate units within a facility to keep COVID-19 patients separate from those who are negative or have an unknown status.
While the coalition provides guidance and creates best practices for the facilities to operate during the pandemic, Thrush said isolation and quarantine protocols are unique to each facility.
In general, Thrush said nursing homes or assisted living facilities should adhere to the following guidelines once a case of COVID-19 is identified:
– Follow a COVID-19 testing strategy and identify close contacts of staff and patients;
– Monitor for symptoms in residents and staff;
– Isolate patients with respiratory symptoms;
– Ensure an adequate supply of PPE for staff;
– Report cases to public health agencies, such as UCHD.
The number of cases at long-term care facilities is updated weekly by ODH.
Prestige Gardens is currently the only Union County long-term care facility to report any positive COVID-19 cases among staff or residents.
UCHD data indicates the county has experienced 164 cumulative cases of COVID-19, excluding those in congregate settings.
24 individuals are actively ill, while 140 have recovered. Of those affected, 11 people required hospitalization and one is currently hospitalized. One ill individual died.
ODH reports seven Ohio Reformatory for Women staff members have tested positive and three have recovered. Two inmates are currently positive for COVID-19 and in isolation.

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