ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The battle against the coronavirus in the Capitol Region continues to be fought in the nursing homes.
The number of positive cases and deaths continues to go up in many of these facilities.
Jack Mabb the public health director of Columbia County says on Wednesday, The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell has 112 COVID-19 positive residents.
Mabb reported that an additional 42 residents of The Grand at Barnwell have tested positive for the virus. That brings to 112, out of 216, the total residents currently in the positive category, with more than 20 staff also having tested positive. All residents and staff are being tested, with the State Department of Health having sent a team to assist with that process, he added.
“The state has complete authority over all nursing homes,” said Director Mabb in response to recent inquiries regarding what authority the county DOH might have. “We help out where we can because they’re part of our county, but we have no authority over them.”
Stephen Hanse of the New York State Health Facilities Association says testing for all staff and residents in nursing homes and assistant living centers is critical.
“The CDC just made testing for nursing homes residents and staff presenting symptoms a tier one priority.” said Hanse.
The NYSFA is working with the state on creating a staffing portal to bring more staffing into the facilities. They also send each nursing home a questionnaire everyday if they need more PPE or not.
“Some of the questions are, how are you on PPE, how are you on gloves, gowns, masks. The state receives the responses before 1 p.m. and then allocates it’s available PPE.” said Hanse.
Hanse says you cannot practice social distance within the nursing homes. The staff members have to provide care at the bedside and this could lead to the spread of the virus.
“You could have an individual that doesn’t have a fever or a respiratory condition. They also may have not come in contact with someone to the best of their knowledge who is infected with COVID-19. Never the less, they may present a positive test and spread the virus to residents.” said Hanse.
Hanse says once nursing homes begin daily testing of all staff and residents, they will have 100% knowledge of who is positive or not in the facility.
“It will overall provide a level of assurance in the nursing homes and slowly decrease the virus.” said Hanse.