LEOMINSTER – Admissions have been frozen at the Life Care Center – a nursing home – in Leominster following a coronavirus outbreak that killed two residents and infected over 80 others.
According to Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health, as of Friday, 50 residents and 33 staff members recently tested positive for COVID-19. The nursing home has a capacity of 133 people.
In a statement, a Life Care Center spokesperson said that 90% of the coronavirus cases among residents were asymptomatic. According to NBC10, as of Monday, only four residents and staff members were still testing positive for the virus.
“The three residents still showing positive are being cared for and closely monitored in our facility, while the one remaining positive associate is isolating at home until officially recovering and being cleared to return to work,” said Samantha Mague, the executive director of Life Care Center.
Around January 20, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health sent a rapid response team to the Leominster facility. The team, which is comprised of nurses and nursing assistants, left the facility Monday, but will continue to monitor it.
According to Mass.gov, over the past week, there have been 168 new, confirmed deaths resulting from COVID-19. State data indicate the average age of those who died of COVID-19 in the past two weeks was 79 years old.
And while coronavirus mortality rates are highest amongst the elderly, recent state data on nursing homes indicate that while there are a few nursing homes with infections in Massachusetts, they have no way near as many cases as the recent outbreak in Leominster. This is also not the first time that the parent company of Life Care Center of Leominster, Life Care Centers of America, has come under scrutiny for its handling of the coronavirus.
One of the largest long-term care facilities for senior citizens in the country, Life Care Centers of America has 15 nursing homes in Massachusetts.
According to an investigation by the Washington Post, in 2020, federal inspectors determined that Life Care Centers of America had violated infection control protocols at 10 of its facilities throughout the country before and after the pandemic. According to WBUR, one of the first COVID-19 deaths attributed to a nursing home in Massachusetts was at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton, when an 83-year-old man contracted the virus and passed away in March 2020.
Also, during the summer of 2020, a number of Life Care of Nashoba Valley’s staff said they were fired after publicly complaining that the operators of the health care center in Littleton were negligent in their care of patients during the pandemic, launching an investigation into the organization by the Attorney General’s Office.
The admissions freeze at Life Care Center of Leominster has been in effect since last Thursday, it is among one of 10 long-term facilities in the state that are presently under an admissions freeze.
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