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COVID-19 outbreak at Mt. Bachelor Memory Care in Bend rises to 31 cases

(Update: Case count rises to 31)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Ten more residents and staff at Mt. Bachelor Memory Care in Bend have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total cases in that outbreak to 31, Deschutes County Health Services said Friday.

A resident tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday, and Health Services staff responded quickly to test all residents and staff, begin the contact tracing necessary to contain such an outbreak and to assess the dimensions of the outbreak.

A representative for the facility said Wednesday that 18 residents and three staff members had tested positive in recent days, with other test results still pending.

The outbreak has been contained to one wing of the facility, according to Mallory DaCosta, regional vice president for the facility's managers, Frontier Management.

Every resident and staff member was tested within 24 hours, she said, adding that many of the positive cases have not shown symptoms to this point.

The facility is creating a second entrance and doing all it can to prevent spread of COVID-19, according to DaCosta, who said it's not clear how the virus first entered the facility.

While Mt. Bachelor Memory Care, like other long-term care facilities, have had tight restrictions since the pandemic began, DaCosta said the biggest challenge is to keep those affected quarantined.

"The biggest thing in memory care is isolating residents, trying to keep them from wandering, which as I'm sure you can imagine, can be a challenge when someone has dementia," DaCosta said.

"It's not always that easy to explain to them why they can't do things," she said. "So it's been the biggest thing, just how to condense the people who do have it, so they're not spreading it more."

Deschutes County Health Services and staff at Mt. Bachelor Memory Care are working closely with the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services. The facility has notified the families of all patients.

DHS is onsite at the facility to assist in implementing appropriate response protocols, the announcement said. In addition, an OHA Health Care Associated Infection team is providing comprehensive infection prevention consultations with the facility, DHS and Health Services staff.

“We are very concerned by this outbreak, and its effects on these highly vulnerable residents, their families and the staff at this facility,” said Deschutes County Health Services Director Dr. George Conway.

“We have been working closely with local long-term care facilities to prevent further infections and to protect our communities’ most vulnerable individuals,” Conway added

Under state guidelines, assisted living facilities that report that they have a staff member or resident with COVID-19 are not permitted to accept new residents and have additional restrictions related to visitors.

Mt. Bachelor Memory Care's managers, Frontier Management LLC, also provided NewsChannel 21 with the following statement:

"Mt Bachelor Memory Care has taken a pro-active approach since early in the year in reviewing practices, providing education to staff and residents regarding ways to reduce their risk for exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

"Mt Bachelor Memory Care began reviewing and implementing protocols and best practices in late February to mitigate the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

"These practices include a staff education, screening and surveillance of staff and visitors, limitation and restriction of outside guests and staff, social distancing, increase in housekeeping practices, and updated standards and practices for admissions, re-admissions and utilization of third-party providers.

"The community will continue to work with all local, state and governmental officials and health care authorities to ensure the residents in our community continue to live in a safe and healthy environment.

"The health, safety and welfare of the residents and staff of Mt Bachelor Memory Care is and will continue to be the main focus during this difficult time for our country."

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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