PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New numbers from the Oregon Health Authority show that nearly 230 residents and staff in nursing homes and other care facilities have now tested positive for the coronavirus. The state has turned one nursing home building into a COVID-19-only care facility and they are looking for more.
The Oregon Department of Human Services reported that 37 people in long-term care facilities have died due to COVID-19. They hope that new efforts to isolate patients who need long term care stops the spread.
“It is a 47-bed operation to provide patients who are, have tested positive for COVID-19, and are discharged from the hospital a place to recover,” Jana McLellan, Child Welfare Deputy Director for DHS.
Laurelhurst Village is now the location of Portland’s first COVID-19-only long term care facility. The latest numbers released by OHA show which care facilities have been hit the hardest with clusters of positive cases of the virus.
Sixteen have been reported at Marian Estates in Marion County. Thirty-four have been diagnosed at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. Thirty-eight cases have been found at Laurelhurst Village. The largest number of cases by far was discovered at Healthcare at Foster Creek in Southeast Portland where 50 members of staff and residents have tested positive.
“While less than 20% of those who are COVID-positive are in long term facilities, we are now aware over half of the fatalities are occurring in those facilities,” said Steve Allen with OHA. “So, that’s why we are focusing our initial efforts on supporting local governments and local health authorities and we will be focusing on other facilities as it will be needed.”
DHS has reported that the most recent facility to see a severe spike in cases was Healthcare at Foster Creek. The state just announced it is now overseeing the management of that facility because the staff there didn’t follow protocols, such as hand washing. The DHS said they had to step in because the situation was putting residents at risk.
“When a facility gets into a crisis mode, we step in,” said DHS Director Fariborz Pakeresht.
Part of that response involves establishing that coronavirus-only building at Laurelhurst Village. Spokesperson Elisa Williams said it will be located in the rehab building on the Village property since it stands alone from the other buildings. Staff will not have to enter the other buildings to care for patients.
“Additional contracts are underway for these alternative care facilities across the state,” said McLellan during a Thursday briefing. “We hope in the next day or two to have at least another contract in place in the Portland metropolitan area, and we will continue building out from there.”
There are around 14 facilities with confirmed cases of the virus. DHS also has a list of facilities where tests are pending for staff and residents, but no positive cases have been confirmed yet. There are around 20 facilities waiting on those test results.
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