Updated: May 29, 2020 06:24 PM
Created: May 29, 2020 06:08 PM
WEBSTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NBC has learned that nearly 150 people who live or work at a Webster nursing home have now tested positive for COVID-19.
The cluster at Hill Haven Nursing Home is shocking and families with loved ones inside are panicked.
The New York State Department of Health recently started making nursing homes test all employees twice a week and as those results come back, we’re getting a clearer picture of just how fast this virus is spreading.
Hill Haven Rehabilitation & Transitional Care Center along Empire Boulevard in Webster is owned by Rochester Regional Health. The 288-bed facility is one of the biggest in the area and is close to capacity.
News10NBC has obtained letters to family members detailing the spread of COVID-19 in the nursing home.
On May 5, one resident tested positive for COVID-19, on May 13, 23 residents and 12 staff members tested positive. By May 19, 51 residents and 37 staff members had the virus, and on May 27 the numbers shot up again with 63 residents and 79 staff diagnosed with COVID-19.
The facility is required by the State Health Department to report those numbers to residents and families. But with nearly 80 employees now quarantined, how is Hill Haven keeping up with the needs of the residents?
In a statement, Jill Graziano, Vice President of Operations for Rochester Regional Health Extended Care told News10NBC:
“As a leading provider of senior care services in our region, Rochester Regional Health is deeply committed to protecting our vulnerable elderly patients and residents from COVID-19—and to transparency regarding our care practices and performance. Rochester Regional serves the community with approximately 1,000 nursing home and long term care beds across six facilities: Hill Haven Rehabilitation & Transitional Care Center in Webster; Unity Living Center in Rochester; Clifton Springs Nursing Home in Clifton Springs; Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Greece; DeMay Living Center in Newark; and Park Ridge Living Center in Rochester. As of May 28, our long term care centers have had, since the outbreak began, 91 total cases and 13 deaths. Of approximately 2,000 total employees, 65 have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 by Rochester Regional Health. An additional 31 employees communicated a positive test by an outside testing source, or have self-reported symptoms and began quarantining at home, out of an abundance of caution. To keep our residents, patients, and staff as safe as possible from this highly contagious disease, we rigorously follow all precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). In addition, Rochester Regional has led the way in implementing stringent protective measures:
• RRH tightened visitor restrictions ahead of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide Executive Order.
• At our largest facility, the 288-bed Hill Haven, RRH broadened employee testing prior to the governor’s order.
• Performing rigorous cleaning and disinfecting, of our nursing homes and long term care facilities.
• We are diligent in our use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for both patients and employees. This includes face shields for our team members, providing an added layer of protection.
RRH long term care staff are among the most skilled and dedicated in the industry. They are our frontline heroes, going above and beyond to keep our patients and residents safe. What’s more, as compassionate caregivers during this time of visitor restrictions, they do everything possible—from helping with virtual family visits to simply holding someone’s hand—to make sure our loved ones are supported as well as safe.”
A spokesman for the NYSDOH told News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke that inspectors have been inside Hill Haven this week ensuring there is proper staffing to care for residents. They’re also making sure the facility is following all sanitation and infection control requirements and there is plenty of PPE for employees who are still COVID-free.
The NYSDOH says it will remain in daily contact with Hill Haven through the crisis.
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