An Arizona long-term care facility is now reporting 11 deaths, and dozens of positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff members, according to public health officials.
In a statement on Monday, Navajo County officials said they are working with Haven of Lakeside to contain and stop the spread of COVID-19 inside the facility that is in Pinetop-Lakeside.
As of November 2, there have been 73 positive cases among residents and staff members, and sadly 11 deaths, according to a press release by Navajo County officials.
“Several residents remain hospitalized, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this virus,” said Jeffrey Lee, health director with Navajo County.
ABC15 went through the data on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and found that out of the 73 who tested positive, 27 are staff members and 46 are residents. Sixty two beds are occupied at the nursing home located in Pinetop-Lakeside.
Along with the outbreak inside the facility, county health officials are linking seven cases of community spread back to the facility.
“Our Pubic Health Nurses continue to provide in-depth disease investigations on these cases, notifying those who are at risk of contracting COVID from this outbreak. In addition to cases within Haven, Public Health Nurses have confirmed seven cases of community spread linked to Haven. If you are not contacted by Public Health disease investigators, you are not at risk of exposure from this facility,” a statement read.
Haven Health is commenting for the first time since ABC15 did a story on the outbreak last week.
In a statement, Haven Health said, “The prevention and treatment of COVID-19 throughout the country in nursing homes has proven extremely difficult and is affected by a number of factors including the availability of proper COVID-19 testing, the obtainment of personal protective equipment, supplies and continually changing guidance by a number of agencies.”
Haven of Lakeside did not confirm the number of cases, but they said that all cases have been reported to the proper agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.
“Haven of Lakeside continues to communicate with state agencies, employees, residents and their responsible parties. As established by policy, visitation inside the building is temporarily restricted to outside guests. Haven of Lakeside will continue to allow visitation for any resident who may be nearing end of life or other similar compassionate visit because of his or her circumstances,” a statement read.
They went on to say that the data is available on CMS, which is where it states that 41 residents tested positive as of 10/18, which is the most recent data available.
Along with the cases, there are also hospitalizations, according to Navajo County officials, but it is unclear how many.
Read the full statement from Haven of Lakeside below:
"Haven of Lakeside confirmed today that it is treating several of its residents for COVID-19. The wellbeing of residents and employees has been and always will be Haven of Lakeside’s highest priority. Haven of Lakeside reported these cases to state and federal agencies as required and has remained in constant communication with all residents, family members of residents and employees. Contrary to reports in the media, Haven of Lakeside released details regarding the situation to all required parties and has maintained communication with them in a variety of methods throughout the duration of the pandemic. The prevention and treatment of COVID-19 throughout the country in nursing homes has proven extremely difficult and is affected by a number of factors including the availability of proper COVID-19 testing, the obtainment of personal protective equipment, supplies and continually changing guidance by a number of agencies.
Haven of Lakeside took extraordinary preventive measures in March of this year when it was designated as a shelter-in-place community, which temporarily limited new resident admissions into the community. Haven of Lakeside has been fortunate through its diligent preparations to have been able to purchase and obtain the proper personal protective equipment and much needed healthcare supplies to help reduce spread of infection. Over the course of the last few months, COVID-19 testing has occurred for residents and employees on a frequent basis. Stringent policies and procedures have been in place since March that limited and restricted employee activity inside and outside of work. With much dedication and sacrifice, employees were held to a higher standard as healthcare providers and limited their outside interactions with family and friends and travel to help reduce potential spread. These efforts helped prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 during the roughest months of COVID-19 spread throughout Arizona. Since March of this year,
Haven of Lakeside conducted numerous rounds of employee testing. Residents were also tested as part of bulk testing and thereafter as additional precautionary measures. Testing requirements for employees and residents in skilled nursing facilities has changed over the last several months.
Haven of Lakeside continues to test employees according to the current Navajo County positivity rate. This is a requirement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the governing regulatory agency for nursing homes. This positive rate is updated weekly. Currently, the testing frequency requires that employees are tested each week. Residents are also being tested weekly as part of outbreak testing. Haven of Lakeside continues to test any employee or resident who presents any potential symptoms of COVID-19 as well as implement appropriate isolation or quarantine procedures. COVID-19 case information reported to state and federal agencies by Haven of Lakeside is available through CMS’ published data. Haven of Lakeside provides numbers and data on a weekly basis as required by CMS. Haven of Lakeside confirms there are both resident and employee cases of COVID-19 as previously reported to CMS and local agencies.
Haven of Lakeside continues to take into account the current CDC recommendations, but also has incorporated the Arizona Department of Health’s guidance in addition to company clinical and operational requirements, which in many cases are more stringent than the recommendations provided by some government agencies. While guidelines and recommendations are in place, even the strictest adherence to these standards could never fully prevent the infection of COVID-19 or any other communicable illness. Haven of Lakeside continues to communicate with state agencies, employees, residents and their responsible parties. As established by policy, visitation inside the building is temporarily restricted to outside guests. Haven of Lakeside will continue to allow visitation for any resident who may be nearing end of life or other similar compassionate visit because of his or her circumstances. Haven of Lakeside encourages residents, resident family members to continue to stay in communication, to continue remote video conferencing with family members and to reach out directly to Haven of Lakeside if they have any questions or concerns. Additional resources and information for community members are available from the Navajo County Health Department."