EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous headline on this story was incorrect. The Brethren Health Care Center suffered the outbreak, not the Brethren Care Village.
ASHLAND -- More than 40 percent of the residents of the Health Care Center nursing home at Brethren Care Village in Ashland County have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are 54 residents at Brethren Care Village’s Health Care Center, according to President and CEO Troy Snyder, and 22 have "active" COVID-19 cases.
“We are deeply saddened by the outbreak at the Health Care Center (nursing home) and openly ask everyone to pray for our residents, staff and medical personnel,” Snyder said in a press release.
Five residents have been transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at UH Samaritan and four deaths have been "associated with" the outbreak, according to a press release sent out Monday afternoon.
"We have had a few residents hospitalized during this time period; and yes some residents have died during this time period, but no one can say with certainty that it occurred from COVID-19," Snyder said.
Several staff and residents are quarantined or in isolation and are being monitored by the Ashland County Health Department.
Snyder said the staff has been working “tirelessly” to care for residents and there is daily communication between Brethren Village and the Ashland County Health Department. Ashland County Health Commissioner Heather Reffett said the health department has worked closely with Brethren care to identify the cause of the outbreak and to limit the spread of the virus.
According to updates posted on Brethren Care’s website, the facility tested all residents and staff on Sept. 29 after a positive case was identified the weekend prior. The testing revealed “several positive cases.”
“In response, we established a COVID unit where those who have tested positive are currently residing. We have also scheduled dedicated staff who are only caring for these residents,” an update posted Sept. 30 read.
“At this time, we will retest residents every three days until the facility has gone 7 days without a new positive case. When the facility has gone 7 days without a new positive case, we will resume weekly COVID-19 testing for residents,” the post continued. “Weekly testing will continue until the facility has gone 14 days without a positive COVID-19 test result.”
On Sept. 30, there were 8 residents and 5 staff with “active COVID-19” and 4 cumulative cases in the Health Care Center listed on the facility’s website.
On Oct. 10, an update posted on Brethren Care’s website listed 29 residents with “active” COVID-19 and 16 staff members with “active” COVID-19.
The other facilities operated by Brethren, including Belmont Tower, Brookwood Place, Bradford Houses and Brethren Care Home Health listed no active cases.
Reffett said the outbreak should serve as a reminder to all of Ashland County to take COVID-19 precautions seriously.
"Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to cause extreme burden to both the public health and health care system. Our ongoing efforts can only be effective when our county residents support our work," Reffett said. "Please do take this virus seriously, stay indoors if you are sick, wear a facial covering when out and ensure to protect your loved ones who are most vulnerable."
Brethren Care Village has a 48-year history of serving older adults in Ashland County.
“What Brethren Care Village experienced recently continues to prove that no facility is immune to a potential outbreak, even when they are taking all of the precautions a nursing home is trained to take,” stated Kathryn Brod, president and CEO of LeadingAge Ohio. “Ohio providers must receive enhanced supports to continue to provide care and recover from outbreaks. This is not a one-and-done issue; those who serve vulnerable older adults will likely continue to be on the frontlines of this fight for a year or more.”
As has been widely reported, older adults, especially those with chronic or multiple conditions, are the most vulnerable segment of the population for complications from a COVID-19 infection. Almost all residents of a long-term care facility fit into this population, and many are there because care needs exceed what can be provided safely at home.
“We want to help families understand that senior care providers are highly trained on infection control procedures, and will continue to provide the best environment for an individual with serious conditions requiring around-the-clock care,” continued Brod. “We must join together to support these heroes and encourage state and federal leaders to continue to increase supports within the sector.”