26 Essex Center residents sick with COVID-19

Coronavirus (Image provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

ELIZABETHTOWN — The coronavirus cluster at Essex Center expanded rapidly Wednesday, with more than a quarter of the nursing home residents testing positive, Essex County Health Services reported.

On Tuesday, one resident died of coronavirus. The county had every resident tested, and on Wednesday learned that 26 other residents have the virus.

Two of those residents are now hospitalized.

The center has 100 beds, though they are not all in use.

Now the goal is to stop the virus from spreading to the rest of the residents, Heath Services officials said.

“Our department, in collaboration with Essex Center and the NYSDOH, have taken numerous steps to mitigate and prevent additional COVID cases with sincere concern for Essex Center residents and employees dedicated to the care of these patients every day,” Health Services said in a news release.

Essex Center has set up a COVID-only section of the building with workers who will only work in that section.

The virus is far more deadly in nursing homes. In two other nursing homes in the area that had a COVID-19 cluster, the fatality rate was 26%.

For people who are less infirm than those living in nursing homes, the statistics appear to be better: a fatality rate much less than 1% and long-lasting health impacts for perhaps one-third of previously healthy adults.

Essex Center is owned and operated by Centers Health Care, as is Glens Falls Center, which had a cluster in April.

At Glens Falls Center, 20 residents died of the virus in six weeks. Another 55 residents recovered. The virus spread widely in the nursing home.

Fort Hudson in Fort Edward and The Pines in Glens Falls also had a cluster but were able to contain it to one unit. At Fort Hudson, 11 residents died and 30 recovered. At The Pines, seven residents died. At least 20 people had the virus, but officials never confirmed a total number of people infected. It spread widely through a floor that had 39 occupied beds.

At each nursing home, an employee was the first to get the virus. But workers have been wearing masks, face shields and gowns.

At Essex Center, one employee tested positive before the resident died of coronavirus Tuesday, but officials were hopeful that the use of personal protective equipment would have kept the virus from spreading.

“Essex Center on Park Street in Elizabethtown, New York, has been fully equipped with PPE since early March, as per the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health and the CDC,” said spokesman Jeff Jacomowitz.


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