A pair of Marysville long-term care facilities have seen recent COVID-19 outbreaks.
Memorial Gables, 390 Gables Drive, and Walnut Crossing, 311 Professional Parkway, each currently have double-digit virus cases for both residents and staff.
“At Memorial Gables we were fortunate to have avoided positive cases amongst our staff and residents for many months,” administrator Heather Adcock said. “We have conducted testing on a regular basis throughout the pandemic and put a significant number of safety measures in place.”
But that ended on Nov. 9 when the facility had its first positive test result. In the 10 days since, that number has ballooned to 20 cases, which is more than one quarter of the facility’s 76 total residents.
Adcock said the resident cases are all in the facility’s memory care unit. She said all of the impacted residents have experienced only mild symptoms so far.
The outbreak has also impacted the facility staff, as 12 employees have also tested positive. The Gables operates with 145 staff members, including contract workers.
In addition to increased testing, Gables officials have been working with the Union County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health to collaborate on limiting spread.
“Our residents in all areas as well as their loved ones are provided updates multiple times a week and we have a recorded hotline that they can call for updates as well,” Adcock said.
Memorial Gables stopped allowing visitors in the facility since Union County was placed into the red designation for community spread by the state on Oct. 15.
Walnut Crossing has 38 active cases among residents and 16 among staff as of Wednesday, according to data from ODH.
Pam Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Communications and Strategy for Cappella Living Solutions, which manages Walnut Crossing, said some residents required hospitalization while infected with the virus.
Although the state dashboard lists 38 current cases, she said she believes the “majority of residents who were positive have now recovered.”
Sullivan said as soon as a case is suspected, the resident is placed in isolation protocol and equipped with full PPE.
She noted that in-person visitation is not currently permitted, but family members can visit through a closed window or through phone calls and video chats.
Union County Health Commissioner Jason Orcena said Wednesday that the cases within long-term care facilities comprise a small percentage of the cases in the community overall.
However, UCHD Public Information Officer Jennifer Thrush has previously said that rampant community spread puts these facilities at risk. She noted the recent spike in local cases makes it difficult to keep the virus out of long-term care facilities, regardless of the precautions they implement.
Thrush noted that the Union County Congregate Care Coalition – which includes assisted living and nursing facilities, correctional facilities and group housing providers – have been meeting weekly since March in an attempt to protect high-risk groups.
In the last three weeks Memorial Hospital has seen its COVID-19 related hospitalizations triple, according to officials. The increase in patients has the hospital bumping up against higher capacity levels, but it has reportedly not yet had to move into surge space.
Officials said the greater concern right now is related to the number of employees available to work, as the increased number of patients has necessitated additional, specially-trained staff.
The rapid community spread is also reportedly directly affecting some staff members, making them unable to work. Some care providers are either in isolation due to infection or quarantine due to contact of someone who has tested positive.
These cases are not associated with spread within the walls of Memorial Hospital, but rather community or household spread, officials said.
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