An eighth COVID-related death was reported over the weekend at the Piatt County Nursing Home, which has seen 43 residents test positive since Dec. 6, but officials hope they are through the worse of the outbreak. In addition, vaccinations will begin Jan. 14.
“It literally exploded the week before Christmas,” facility administrator Scott Porter told the county board nursing home committee Monday morning. “It just rolled us over.”
But he feels an effort that involved moving 16 patients at once to help isolate them even more helped stem the tide, reducing the number of cases in the past two weeks.
Tom Corbin, whose wife is a resident in the nursing home, complimented the staff on their efforts to keep the outbreak limited to about half the population there.
“The fact that not everyone came down with it was a miracle,” said Corbin.
Twenty-seven positive tests among staff have also been recorded since August.
Porter said the nursing home has opted not to require vaccinations for workers there, but is strongly encouraging it.
“It is the administration's position that everyone should take it for the betterment and health and safety of the residents, but we are not making it mandatory,” said Porter.
“But the staff has been made aware that, if you choose not to take the vaccinations, that is your right. However, you will have to wear a mask indefinitely. If you contract the virus you could use sick days if you have them, but they would be counted against you as absences. If there is tool available and you choose not to use it – and that is your right – those would be the consequences,” he added.
Committee member Shannon Carroll asked what precautions would be taken when the facility lifts a freeze on new admissions. Porter said there was no formal policy regarding the vaccine in place at this point, but that state health guidelines would be followed, which include isolation of new admissions for 14 days.
How to handle visitors once they are allowed back in the nursing home is also to be determined. Corbin suggested a two phase approach: Allowing those who could prove they had the vaccine in first, then allow others to visit at a later time.
Porter said an additional AED unit (defibrillator) was purchased, since the building is “basically two nursing homes” at this point to isolate COVID-19 patients during their isolation.