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Second testing round finds all clear for COVID at Mercy nursing home

Mercy Living Center In Tupper Lake (Enterprise file photo)

The Mercy Living Center in Tupper Lake has seen zero new cases of COVID-19 since an employee tested positive last week.

The nursing home, operated by Adirondack Health, conducted a second round of resident testing on Friday. All 57 of the facility’s residents received negative test results within 36 hours, and none of the residents are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, according to a news release from Adirondack Health. The residents also tested negative following news of the initial positive case on Aug. 31.

“We were very pleased to learn over the weekend that all Mercy Living Center residents again tested negative,” Dave Mader, Adirondack Health’s chief nursing officer, said in a statement. “These latest results are a testament to our staff’s good judgment and adherence to personal protective equipment and infection control protocols. As good as the news is, however, we cannot and will not let our collective guard down.”

All of the nursing home’s staff have also been tested for COVID-19, and no new positives have surfaced since the initial employee tested positive on Aug. 31, according to Adirondack Health spokesman Matt Scollin. Mercy Living staff are tested weekly, and the results of those tests are typically recieved within three days.

Nursing home employees are required to be tested at least once per week. After receiving criticism for COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes under his policies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on May 10 requiring nursing home staff to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. In May, nursing home operators across the state said the twice-weekly mandate was financially and logistically difficult to adhere to. The governor’s order was amended in June, one month after it was signed, reducing the twice-weekly staff testing requirement to once per week.

Nursing home residents are among the highest-risk populations amid the coronavirus pandemic. As of Aug. 13, more than 402,000 people at some 17,000 facilities across the country have been infected by the coronavirus, the New York Times reported. At least 68,000 people have died as of Aug. 13, accounting for roughly 41% of total COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

In response to a COVID-19 outbreak at Essex Center in Elizabethtown, Mercy Living Center closed its doors to visitors last month. The nursing home will remain closed to visitors indefinitely, according to a news release from Adirondack Health.

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