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Four dead amid COVID-19 outbreak in Lebanon long-term care facility

Others there test positive
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Posted at 9:18 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 12:40:08-04

BOONE CO. — Four long-term care residents have died at a Boone County long term care facility amid an outbreak of COVID-19, the health department announced Tuesday.

Thirty-seven residents and employees are confirmed to have active infections, and four residents have died at Signature Healthcare at Parkwood in Lebanon.

A strike team from the Indiana Department of Health has been notified and is currently working with Parkwood to provide support, testing, and mitigation efforts.

The Boone County Health Department says it will continue to monitor the situation.

The health department released a statement:

We are beginning to see record-breaking COVID-19 numbers within Boone County and across the state. As the weather becomes colder, we are anticipating large numbers of influenza and COVID-19 and are especially concerned for our vulnerable populations- particularly those in long term care facilities. We encourage every resident to get a flu shot and to continue to practice preventative infection control measures. Our best-proven infection control measures during this time continue to be hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing face masks over the nose and mouth, avoiding crowded spaces, staying home when sick, and social distancing. These measures are only most protective if they are adopted by every resident possible.

On Wednesday, Signature Healthcare released a statement saying the company is "is deeply saddened by the loss of any one of our residents to this virulent enemy."

The statement read:

The rising numbers of Coronavirus cases in Indiana is a daunting reminder of the virulence of COVID-19 and our world’s daily battle with this relentless pandemic. Signature HealthCARE vividly understands the fear, concern, and devastating loss that sadly come with those rising numbers and this virus. Undoubtedly, in every circumstance, Signature HealthCARE continues to work diligently to fight the spread of this virus, even in times of increased cases within our communities, with aggressive testing. While there have been additional protocols from the Centers for Disease Control, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the state, the foundation of our testing protocol has always been a proactive mindset of preparing for not “if”, but “when” our facilities faced battles with COVID-19.

In this relentless fight, Signature HealthCARE and its 9 Indiana facilities continue to follow the state of Indiana’s and the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) mandate that all long-term care and skilled nursing facility staff test at least weekly until there are no positive cases for 14 days, then testing according to CMS guidelines. Signature HealthCARE also continues to follow its own facility-wide testing protocol with its residents and staff at the first sign of symptoms. Our facility-wide testing strategy against the transmission of this virus started early on in the COVID-19 pandemic at select facilities, testing all residents and staff when the first COVID-19 positive case surfaced. This strategy came highly recommended by Signature’s infectious disease physicians as a way to quickly identify the scope of the virus in a facility, knowing that positive persons can be asymptomatic, and then work swiftly to contain any further spread. Signature’s approach was applauded by the CDC before being mandated by many states.

Our Indiana facilities are prepared to appropriately care for our residents who test positive by using a variety of methods depending on outcomes. This could include caring for them within a COVID-19 unit within the facility or using other special COVID-19 units in the state, if necessary. We continue to be in close consultation with the medical director and our infectious disease physicians on staff, who guide us on best practices. If at any time a physician determines a resident needs a higher level of care, they will be treated at one of our partnering hospitals.

Our healthcare calling is for our facilities to continue to care for all persons, even those with COVID-19, within our facilities and occasionally from other hospitals, as our communities need us in this fight. Often times, the numbers of COVID positive cases in our facilities reflect, not only our positive resident cases, but also those cases we have accepted into our COVID-19 units as hospitals ask for our assistance. Our facility-wide testing is one of the best ways to protect and help care for them all.

That being said, Signature HealthCARE is deeply saddened by the loss of any one of our residents to this virulent enemy. Signature HealthCARE’s facilities are more than brick and mortar. Inside each one is a family, full of compassionate and fiercely dedicated staff who create close bonds with their residents and vice versa. The loss of any resident, no matter what the reason, is nothing short of devastating and even more devastating for the families of our residents who are in our prayers and thoughts daily. The fight we continue to wage against COVID-19 has been unwavering in the protection of our residents and community and will continue to be.

Signature HealthCARE wants our residents, families, and staff to know that we continue to strive every day to take every precaution possible and to follow the strict guidelines of the CDC and other controlling government agencies. Those guidelines include, but are not limited to, screening all stakeholders and residents daily for symptoms of the virus, utilizing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and masks, and using alternate methods of communication for families, including telehealth, social media, and the mailing of cards and letters.