By Terri House
On March 11, it was reported by Business Insider that more than 60 percent of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are linked to a nursing home in the state of Washington.
As of Friday, 26 coronavirus deaths had been linked to Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland, located 20 minutes north of Seattle.
A long-term care facility, Life Care Center has been dealing with the outbreak of coronavirus for weeks.
According to Business Insider, more than 51 coronavirus cases have been confirmed among Life Care residents and about 70 staff members have also presented symptoms of COVID-19. Many of the staff have not been tested for the coronavirus because of test shortages. First responders who answered calls from Life Care Center were exposed to the coronavirus, including 27 firefighters and three police officers who were quarantined.
“Patient zero” has not been identified.
The Life Care Center incident has spurred some changes in Pagosa Springs.
Pine Ridge Extended Care Center
Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs took proactive action on Monday to restrict individuals from entering the building in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a statement released by Corporate President and CEO Joyce Humiston.
“The current COVID-19 outbreak situation means that it is critical that we take every precaution possible. We must prevent this virus from entering our center,” the statement reads. “Protecting our residents’ health and safety is our top priority.
“The CDC has done a careful review of the death rate in the elderly, especially those with dementia or chronic diseases. Experts are recommending we take action to limit individuals from entering our building and to ensure sick employees stay home.”
According to Humiston, early data in the COVID-19 outbreak shows the following, which is why Pine Ridge has taken this action now:
• “The mortality rate for people over 80 in the general population is 15% in China.”
• “The World Health Organization report estimates the mortality rate at 21.9% for those over 80.”
• “At the nursing home in Washington state, there have been 50 residents who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. As of March 9, 2020, 19 of those have died. This is a high death rate.”
Humiston explained that there is a risk of people who appear to be healthy visiting a nursing home and spreading the virus by infecting the residents.
“Studies of past viral epidemics where recommending prevention was delayed were not effective. These studies show that the sooner we limit interactions with each other and wash your hands frequently virus spreads more slowly,” wrote Humiston.
of Pagosa Springs
On Thursday, BeeHive Homes of Pagosa Springs restricted visitation of residents to home health staff and physical therapists, explained Felicia Storey, administrator.
“The majority of everybody has been thankful and grateful. … It is our jobs to protect their family,” Storey added.
“Due to the severity of the COVID-19 virus the State of Colorado has increased safety measures and we are now going into a NO VISITOR policy until further notice. This is for the safety and health of our residents which is our top priority! Please feel free to contact San Juan Basin Health at 970-247-5702 for any questions you may have,” reads a safety update from Storey to families of BeeHive residents.
Visiting Angels offers in-home living assistance for the aging and disabled.
The organization’s chief operating officer, Michelle Johnson, explained on Friday that Visiting Angels is urging its clients and families to also limit outside visitation whenever possible to avoid infecting those who are more vulnerable.
“Our teams are following the Centers for Disease Control and our state agency guidelines,” noted Johnson. “All employees are being educated on-going about the virus.”
Notice of Public Health Order 20-20
“At this time, I find it necessary to implement emergency measures to restrict visitors to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences, and intermediate care facilities in Colorado to protect the health of the residents of these facilities,” an order released Friday from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment states.
That order implements emergency measures and restricts visitors to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and intermediate care facilities in Colorado to protect the health of the residents of the facilities.
“I am ordering that Colorado licensed or certified skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities and assisted living residences implement visitor restrictions and daily facility screening protocols for those entering the facility, in order to reduce the likelihood of possible introduction of COVID-19 into these facilities,” reads the order.