SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – COVID-19 infections are on the rise in Onondaga County nursing homes and aged care centers.
In his Tuesday COVID briefing, County Executive Ryan McMahon confirmed in the last check that 83 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at facilities across the county. This is the highest number of recently reported infections among the most vulnerable.
Overall, there has been a slight drop in COVID cases across the county, but these recent infections are something McMahon says we need to keep an eye on.
NewsChannel 9 contacted Onondaga County nursing homes and aged care facilities to see if they had any confirmed cases.
Loretto, one of the largest facilities in the area, has 28 residents currently infected. You can read their full statement below.
We reopened our dedicated COVID unit two weeks ago in response to hospital requests and have successfully cared for several patients who have now recovered. We are currently safely caring for 38 patients in this unit, 28 are system wide residents and another 10 are discharged from local hospitals. We have adequate supplies of PPE to protect our staff and residents, and have strict protocols in place for all visitors, but we ask people to refrain from visiting loved ones at our facilities. they have been potentially exposed to someone with COVID or if they are not feeling well. We also strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated or get the booster shot to ensure the safety of our residents, staff and the whole community.
Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse says 16 of its residents are being treated at their designated COVID-19 unit. This is in addition to patients arriving at the unit from area hospitals and other assisted and aged care facilities.
The Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center continues to be proactive in the fight against Covid‐19. So in December, we took steps to help local hospitals and healthcare providers by opening a 35-bed Covid-only unit. This action mirrors that taken in April 2020 when we admitted more than 65 Covid-positive patients to a designated unit to ease the burden on hospitals and help reopen the Central New York economy.
As always, all precautions are being followed, including designated teams working exclusively on the Covid unit only. Our infection control policies and procedures are consistent with current state, federal, and CDC guidelines, and we are pleased to once again be able to help the community in this way.
Many residents admitted to the specialist Covid unit come from area hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities as needed. While at Bishop, patients have access to monoclonal antibody therapy designed for high-risk individuals with mild to moderate symptoms who are at risk of progressing to severe disease. Antibodies are designed to mimic those created by the body’s immune system to ward off the virus and fight infection.
The institution has been proactive in its recruitment and is currently operating with adequate staffing levels. Additionally, 100% of Bishop’s employees are vaccinated and 91% of residents are vaccinated.
Bishop’s Rehabilitation and Nursing: Statement
To help find pockets of the virus, 35,000 rapid home tests are being distributed this week to nursing homes and senior care facilities in Onondaga County, according to McMahon.
Senator May, chair of the Senate Committee on Aging, says institutions need to monitor visits from loved ones.
I think we need to give nursing homes some discretion in this area. If they have a real outbreak in a nursing home, they need to do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t spread. We know visits are really important. I worked incredibly hard on it over the last year and we made a lot of changes, but even those changes were based on the fact that the virus was also somewhat under control. Right now we don’t have that control, so for a short time I think we still have to make sure we don’t have a lot of people coming into nursing homes.
STATE SENATOR RACHEL MAY, (D) 53RD DISTRICT
Senator May also told NewsChannel 9 that she and other members of the NYS health committee recently spoke with state health commissioner Dr. Mary Basset to discuss measures to additional security for retirement homes and aged care facilities.