April 30, 2020
A nursing home in Adair County continues to be a hotbed for the coronavirus and 10 deaths are now contributed to the outbreak in the facility.
Nine residents and one employee at Signature Healthcare at Summit Manor have died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning. The employee is the only health care staff death reported in Kentucky.
A total of 67 Summit Manor residents were confirmed to have had the virus since the county’s first case on March 31. One other resident who recently moved back to Taylor County also tested positive this week.
The Lake Cumberland District Health Department and the Adair County Fiscal court have confirmed another 11 cases since early March are employees at the nursing home and one other is the spouse of one of those employees. Only two cases in Adair County are not directly tied to the nursing home.
According to data provided by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 16 staff members at Summit Manor have tested positive for the virus. That data includes residents who live in counties other than Adair.
Five deaths have been reported in the past week (since April 22) and 17 new cases have been reported, all tied to the nursing home.
There has been some good news, however. Of the county’s 81 positive cases, 30 have now been released from isolation, including Jim Hagan, the first person confirmed to have the virus on March 31. Hagan is one of the two cases not related to the nursing home.
Summit Manor set up a wing of the facility earlier this month for residents who have tested positive for coronavirus and a separate wing for any residents who were exposed, usually be sharing a room with someone who tested positive.
In a release Tuesday, Signature Healthcare defended its response to the outbreak and responded to questions from the city of Columbia’s social media pages. The release stated that an interview with Mayor Pam Hoots would be made available on the city’s Facebook page.
A call and emails to the company from the Community Voice have gone unanswered.
The release credits the staff for preventing 21 residents from getting the virus.
On April 9, LCDHD director Shawn Crabtree said the facility had 71 residents. However, if there were 21 residents who were negative as of Tuesday, that would have brought the number of residents closer to 85, meaning 75 percent of the facility’s residents have tested positive for the virus.
It appears that several of those residents are now released from isolation. On Monday, Summit Manor held a celebration for the first two residents to have recovered and have been removed from the COVID unit.
In its release, Signature Healthcare states that “the saturation of social media and persons’ misunderstanding, fear, and lack of full knowledge has led to negative reporting and the postings recently seen. Indeed, fear and extorted information has blanketed the truth.”
The company said it is working with the mayor’s office to “create an opportunity to discuss the questions and concerns” received on social media.
The release states that the number of cases at the facility is “not a reflection of an ‘outbreak,’ rather an intentional and fortunate ability to test facility wide.”
Even with the best care and preventative measures, COVID-19 is highly contagious and extremely hard to prevent or contain, the company states.
A number of long-term care facilities across Kentucky and the nation are finding themselves in the same situation as Summit Manor, along with other Signature Healthcare facilities.
A Signature facility in rural Morgantown reports 42 positive residents and four resident deaths, with 31 positive staff.
Another Signature facility in rural Jackson County reports 39 positive residents, six resident deaths, and 20 positive staff.
Other facilities in rural areas of the state reporting a large number of cases are a facility in Graves County, which reports 65 positive residents, 13 resident deaths, and 31 positive staff. A facility in Grayson County reports 33 positive residents, 2 resident deaths, and 13 positive staff.
See related article on page 7 of the April 30, 2020 edition of the Community Voice.
By Sharon Burton
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