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, said Adirondack Health spokesman Matt Scolin. Some show symptoms of COVID-19.
A vaccinated staff member tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, Scolin said, leading to a “outbreak status” at the Adirondack Health Nursing Home.
Usually, if someone tests positive in a nursing home, all residents and staff are tested for COVID-19.
Initial test results returned Wednesday evening showed that 14 residents and three staff members have the virus.
“That’s 13 more than we’ve ever had,” said Scolin.
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, Scolin said 12 have been vaccinated and two have not. All three employees have been vaccinated, he said. On Wednesday, Adirondack Health CEO Aaron Kramer said 95% of Mercy’s total population has been fully vaccinated.
Scolin said eligible residents received their Pfizer booster injections on Oct. 21. Adirondack Health planned a Moderna booster clinic on Nov. 17, but he said it could be delayed because it may not be right to give a symptomatic individual a booster shot while they’re still testing positive.
Mercy currently has 51 residents and about 100 staff members, Scolin said.
Scolin said residents and staff have been in this situation before, with positive cases triggering outbreak statuses – meaning a temporary lockdown with no visitors allowed – but this time there have been more cases than ever before. He said the nursing home is working closely with a state epidemiologist.
In the outbreak status, Scolin said visits 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. For the time being, only medically necessary appointments will continue.
“Residents are encouraged to stay in their room” said Scolin. “Those who cannot stay in their rooms and tolerate face masks will be asked to wear them when outside their rooms.”
Scolin said residents dine in their rooms. Activities are held in individual rooms or in areas with social distancing, but he said no gatherings are allowed. The salon also has limited access.
Scolin said positive residents are treated on a case-by-case basis. This is where they live, he said, but for everyone’s safety, he said the staff keep them away from others when they are not in their rooms.
Employees who test positive for the virus will be told they will not be able to work for at least 10 days.
“Personnel will continue to use face masks, goggles and shields universally throughout the facility,” said Scolin.
The next test rounds will take place on November 15 and 23.