COVID-19 outbreak at Mercy Living Center

Three staff, 14 residents test positive

TUPPER LAKE — Mercy Living Center is currently reporting a coronavirus outbreak with 17 residents and staff testing positive for COVID-19. No one has been hospitalized, Adirondack Health Spokesman Matt Scollin said. Some are showing COVID-19 symptoms.

A vaccinated staff member tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, Scollin said, which triggered an “outbreak status” at the nursing home run by Adirondack Health.

If someone tests positive at a nursing home, all of its residents and staff are typically tested for COVID-19.

The first round of testing results returned on Wednesday evening revealed 14 residents and three staff have the virus.

“That is 13 more than we’ve ever had,” Scollin said.

He said a few of those who tested positive are showing symptoms of COVID-19. The rest are asymptomatic. No one has been hospitalized, he said.

Of the residents who tested positive, Scollin said 12 are vaccinated and two are unvaccinated. All three staff members are vaccinated, he said. On Wednesday, Adirondack Health CEO Aaron Kramer said 95% of Mercy’s total population is fully vaccinated.

Scollin said eligible residents received their Pfizer booster shots on Oct. 21. Adirondack Health was planning a Moderna booster clinic on Nov. 17, but he said that may be postponed because it might not be good to give a symptomatic individual a booster shot while they are still testing positive.

Mercy currently has 51 residents and around 100 staff members, Scollin said.

Scollin said residents and staff have been in this situation before, with positive cases triggering outbreak statuses — which means a temporary lockdown with no visitors allowed — but this time, there are more cases than ever before. He said the nursing home is working closely with a state epidemiologist.

While in outbreak status, Scollin said visitations are limited. Mercy makes some exceptions for compassionate end-of-life care, he said. Family and friends can still call residents or talk virtually. They can also schedule window visits. Only medically necessary appointments are continuing for now.

“Residents are encouraged to remain in their rooms,” Scollin said. “Those who cannot remain in their rooms and can tolerate a face mask will be asked to wear them when they’re outside of their rooms.”

Scollin said residents are dining in their rooms. Activities are being held in individual rooms or in socially distanced spaces, but he said there are no gatherings allowed. The salon is also restricted.

Scollin said positive residents are handled on a case-by-case basis. This is where they live, he said, but for everyone’s safety, he said staff keep them away from others when they’re not in their rooms.

Staff members who test positive for the virus are told to stay out of work for 10 days at minimum.

“Staff continues to universally use face masks, goggles and shields throughout the facility,” Scollin said.

The next rounds of testing will take place Nov. 15 and 23.


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