There have been five deaths at Spring River Christian Village in Joplin since a COVID-19 outbreak there began in mid-June, and 70 residents and staff have been infected, according to families who have loved ones there as well as a statement from the company released today.
The Joplin Health Department on June 25 announced two deaths at Spring River Christian Village — the first two COVID-19 deaths for the city. One was a female resident who was 73, the other was a female resident who was 87. In both of those cases, coronavirus was listed as a significant contributor to their deaths, according to a statement released by the Joplin Health Department.
In a statement released this morning, Spring River Christian Village said, "44 residents have tested positive, and of these, five have died. It has not yet been determined whether COVID-19 was a factor."
Families say they received a notice on Tuesday indicating that in the past 24 hours, the nursing home has had one additional resident test positive, and one additional employee test positive, bringing the total so far to 44 residents and 26 employees.
Of the 44 residents, 37 are being cared for at Spring River, one has been hospitalized and another left the nursing home, according to the company's statement.
No residents were listed as recovered yet, but eight workers are listed as recovered. In the statement, Spring River Christian Village said all associates exhibiting symptoms or testing positive are not allowed to return to the campus until they show negative results from two separate tests.
In today's statement, the company also said, "On June 25, a focused CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) infection control survey was conducted by the (Missouri) Department of Health and Senior Services. The results found Spring River to be deficiency-free and in compliance with all infection control measures. Spring River has been proactive in implementing all of the recommended practices and procedures provided by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for long-term care facilities to control the spread" of COVID-19.
Ray Dickison, chief operating officer for Christian Horizons, told the Globe in an earlier interview that Spring River Christian Village, 201 Northpark Lane, has been working to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19. Spring River Christian Village is part of the nonprofit Christian Horizons family.
"We are certainly following all the CDC guidelines and any state guidance," he said.
The company said it also is keeping residents, family members, associates and local public health officials informed.
"Christian Horizons is doing everything we can to ensure we stop the spread of this within our communities," Dickison said in a statement. "We are in close communication with the local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps currently. We have now expanded our dedicated units for infection prevention, initiated dedicated staff with enhanced training in COVID caregiving, enhanced cleaning protocols and management of personal protective equipment and supplies. We have advanced clinical team support with 24/7 telehealth monitoring capabilities for immediate assessment and management of treatment interventions."
The first case of COVID-19 at Spring River Christian Village — a resident — was reported on June 16. As a result, Spring River tested all residents and employees on June 16 and retested on June 23 — resulting in 27 residents and 15 employees testing positive at that time.
Dickison said the skilled nursing center also has maintained the "strict no-visit policy, only essential (personnel)" since it was required earlier this spring.
"We continue to enforce the recommended preventative actions such as visitor restriction, associate screening, social distancing, eliminating all group activities, eliminating all group dining, and implementing all infection control prevention and precautions," the company said in a statement last month. "We will continue to stay committed to ongoing testing of our residents and associates."
The statement noted that senior living communities and skilled care homes have been disproportionately affect by COVID-19 "because of its vulnerable, high-risk population."
The company said it also has plans in place to conduct periodic testing of all residents and employees at Spring River.
In Wednesday's statement, Dickison, who is also the Christian Horizons COVID task force leader, said, "We will continue the fight against COVID and continue to enforce the recommended preventative actions to contain the virus. ... However, the fight is going to take everyone in the greater Joplin community to do all they can to protect the most vulnerable of our population.”