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A dozen confirmed cases at ManorCare Jersey Shore

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS A dozen cases of coronavirus have been confirmed at ManorCare-Jersey Shore. Those diagnosed include 11 patients and one staff member.

JERSEY SHORE — It looks like a local personal care home has become a “Hot Spot” for the coronavirus.

There are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at ManorCare Health Services – Jersey Shore, including 11 patients and one staff member.

The nursing home at 1008 Thompson St., has seven patients in quarantine and has transferred three more patients to hospitals, according to Julie Beckert, Assistant Vice President and Director of Marketing & Communications, HCR ManorCare, Inc.

In addition, one staff member is in quarantine at home, Beckert said.

The Express, in response to phone calls from relatives of loved ones at ManorCare who tested positive for the virus, sought out information from ManorCare headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, and on Sunday afternoon received the confirmation of a dozen cases at the Jersey Shore facility, which has been on “lockdown” since the governor issued the “stay at home order.”

One man said his 89-year-old mother has been at ManorCare for four years and when he last spoke with her by phone… since visitors were no longer allowed… she was having trouble breathing and was coughing. He said she suffers from dementia, high blood pressure and other medical ailments and he asked that she be tested. Her test came back positive, he said.

Another woman who has a friend in her 80’s at ManorCare, where she was undergoing therapy after a broken bone, said her friend has also tested positive and is being isolated. Without visitors, she’s becoming depressed, the woman said, wondering aloud what her friend’s outcome might be.

In an email response Beckert said, “We know that the frail and elderly are especially susceptible to this virus. That’s why we are in close communication with our local health department, CDC and CMS to ensure we have the latest information and resources available. The health and well-being of our patients and employees remains our top priority.”

Those developing symptoms are tested and the Department of Health notifies ManorCare of the confirmed positive cases, she said.

Beckert said ManorCare immediately began putting precautions in place at their facilities when the virus reached the United States, including checking and monitoring for symptoms of the virus for all visitors, patients and employees, she said.

“Then, on March 14, we added more precautions such as eliminating group activities and most visitors except for end of life reasons. We also implemented universal masking or our employees,” Beckert said.

Precaution measures also include creating an Airborne Isolation Unit as part of our infection control and treatment plan, Beckert said.

That unit is an isolation unit for patients who are higher risk patients, she explained. The unit has barriers installed to protect other residents and employees and keep higher risk patients in a focused treatment area, with personal protective equipment dedicated to that unit. Also, dedicated staff is assigned to the unit wearing CDC personal protective equipment, including respiratory masks, gowns, face shields, Beckert said.

Other precautions being taken at ManorCare facilities include:

— Holding new admissions.

— Taking regular symptom and temperature checks of all residents and reducing the temperature threshold to 99 degrees in order to address any change in condition rapidly.

— Increased sanitizing and cleaning processes.

— Reviewing all inventory for personal protective equipment, such as masks and gowns, and educating staff on proper use and disposal.

— Working with the Department of Health, CDC and the community to immunize any additional risk.

— Staying connected with families.

— Regular updates and in-servicing of our care team.

— Working with supply chain to ensure proper supplies are on hand.

Beckert said staff communicates directly with employees, patients and their families if they are affected or if there is a risk of exposure in the facility.

“Our employees are working extremely hard and in a challenging environment. They have had to think outside the box to keep families and patients informed and connected, change how we serve meals, deliver therapy and present activities while maintaining social distancing, hygiene practices, and wearing PPE,” Beckert said.

“They are true health care heroes and deserve to be recognized as such.”

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