Officials at the 126-bed Burlington Health & Rehabilitation Center say they are taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after a resident tested positive for the disease on Tuesday.
In a statement, the facility said it is restricting visitors, canceling communal dining and other activities and have sent home employees who have had contact with the infected patient for 14 days.
“Over the last several weeks, we have been focused on prevention and preparing our physicians, nurses, and nurses’ aides for the possibility of the Coronavirus reaching our center,” said spokesperson Lori Mayer in a statement. “We are currently receiving regular updates on the latest admission screening guidelines and infection control protocols. Everything we are doing is in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health.
But relatives of other residents say they are worried about the facility’s ability to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. One man, who did not want to be named to protect his relative’s privacy, said he feels helpless.
“The 5th floor is where this all occurred, and my mother is on the 5th floor and she’s 95 so you know I’m worried about her,” he said. “If they get infected they’re going to die.”
The nation’s senior population has been a particular concern for health officials, who say the majority of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. has been among the elderly. In Washington, 29 deaths were connected to the same nursing home.
Burlington Health & Rehabilitation Center says its employees are now wearing gowns and masks at all times. They’ve also started taking residents’ temperatures twice a day.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said officials must be vigilant to keep the most vulnerable healthy. He suggested minimizing in-person visits and encouraged more video chats and phone calls to keep in touch with older loved ones.
“This is exactly the kind of infection of a vulnerable facility that we have been seeking to avoid througt the isolation strategies that have been announced in recent days and through all the social distancing efforts,” Weinberger said.
Statement from Burlington Health & Rehabilitation on recent COVID-19 case
Since the outbreak began in China, our senior management team, clinical leadership and Chief Medical Officer have been meeting regularly to address concerns about an outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, and the possibility of the virus impacting Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center. Over the last several weeks, we have been focused on prevention and preparing our physicians, nurses, and nurses’ aides for the possibility of the Coronavirus reaching our center. We have been hyper-vigilant in screening patients and through this process, we quickly identified one resident who was confirmed positive for COVID-19. We have notified and are working closely with the local Department of Health and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines. We have also notified patients, residents and families, and will remain in close contact with them in the coming weeks. We are doing everything possible to minimize any additional cases at our center, including, but not limited to:
- Restriction of visitors
- Staff wearing masks and gowns
- Removal of employees in close contact to the individual for 14 days
- Patient/resident screenings for temperatures and symptoms 2X per day
- Cancellation of communal dining and activities
- Increased surface cleaning
At this time, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our patients, residents and staff. Our thoughts go out to the resident and the resident’s family.