One resident at Autumn Lake Healthcare at Chestertown has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to county health officials. Another resident is hospitalized with the virus, and 10 more residents and three staff members also have tested positive.
A “Go Team” with Maryland National Guardsmen and disaster medical assistance personnel from the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services was activated and responded Sunday to the facility, according to a press release from the Kent County Health Department. The team was at the facility from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We are appreciative of Gov. Hogan’s decision to make these ‘Go Teams’ available to assist Maryland nursing homes,” William Webb, Kent County’s health officer, said in the press release. “Autumn Lake Healthcare is following recommendations from the ‘Go Team’ and the infection control guidelines of the Maryland Department of Health. Our organizations are in daily communication and we will continue to provide support to the residents, their families, and facility staff during this time.”
Autumn Lake had previously put into place prevention measures according to state and federal guidance, including restricting visitation and communal dining, suspending group activities, taking extra cleaning measures, and conducting daily checks for symptoms of residents and staff members, according to the press release.
During an outbreak, the facility must elevate its infection control practices and delivered items must be inspected and disinfected, according to the health department. For this reason, Autumn Lake, in conjunction with the health department, has asked that families do not drop off food, clothing, or other personal effects for residents.
“I implore everyone to take this virus seriously and be vigilant to prevent its spread,” Webb said in the statement. “Our highest priority is to keep everyone safe and we must take every step possible to protect our most vulnerable.”
Autumn Lake Healthcare at Chestertown describes itself on its website as “a state-of-the-art nursing center brimming with small-town heart. In addition to subacute rehabilitation, we are known for our excellence in long-term care, providing round-the-clock skilled nursing for a wide range of complex medical conditions.”
Information on COVID-19 may be found on the state’s website at coronavirus.maryland.gov or the county health department’s website at kenthd.org
The health department operates a call center at 410-778-1350 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The health department will not disclose individual information about Autumn Lake residents. The status of each resident is being communicated to the primary contact on file with Autumn Lake.
Letters to Editor
Muriel Cole says
May one outcome of this disaster be that national policies address the worsening crisis in long-term care in the U.S. Staff are underpaid for the difficult work required, turnover is high, and our frail elderly have a quality of life that is, as Mark Twain noted, punishment for a crime they did not commit.