BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — A nursing home dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak among residents and staff updated its numbers Thursday with the results of recent testing.
According to a news release from Americare Senior Living, the Quaker Hill nursing home reported five new cases — two residents and three employees. That brings the total reported by the home to 24 residents and 13 staff members, said Pat Cokingtin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Americare.
Among the residents, four are receiving treatment in the home's special COVID-19 unit, 15 have recovered and returned to the residential part of the home, and five have died, Cokingtin said.
Residents were tested Tuesday and will be again next week. They are quarantined in their rooms and are checked for symptoms every four hours, according to the release.
If a resident tests positive, they are placed on "droplet precautions" in the COVID-19 unit, which is separated from the rest of the nursing home by plastic barriers. Staff working in that unit do not attend to other residents, and wear full personal protective equipment while in a resident's room.
The nursing home continues to test staff members twice a week; the next scheduled test will be today.
Americare announced on Aug. 31 that 16 residents and seven employees had tested positive.
The outbreak is similar to others reported at nursing homes across the country.
COVID-19 cases in U.S. nursing homes jumped nearly 80% earlier this summer, driven by rampant spread across the South and much of the West, according to an industry report released in August. Long-term care homes account for less than 1% of the U.S. population but more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
David Grabowski, a member of the commission behind the tracking project, said the proliferation of the novel coronavirus in nursing homes has shocked and surprised many. He said that according to commission's research, the virus enters facilities from surrounding communities, carried by staff members and visitors who are asymptomatic.
A final version of the commission's report, released Thursday, lists 27 major recommendations for dealing with the pandemic, including establishing a national testing strategy, guaranteeing supplies of personal protective equipment, safely resuming family visits and providing more help with infection control.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.