More COVID-19 Cases Reported at Brandon Woods Nursing Home in Dartmouth
Brandon Woods Nursing Home in Dartmouth as of Wednesday had 18 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
Parent company CEO Frank Romano told the Standard-Times there were 16 confirmed cases among residents with an additional two presumptive cases in residents whose test results had not yet been returned.
The 118-bed facility at 567 Dartmouth Street is owned and operated by Essex Group Management and provides adult and hospice care. On April 10, Romano had reported only two cases, involving a patient and nurse. Since then broader testing has occurred within the facility.
Affected residents have been moved to a separate self-contained unit with its own entrance and exit and dedicated staff, Romano said. The National Guard has been deployed "as a backup" to help conduct testing and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, an entity partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has sent a mobile testing unit.
Romano said all steps are being taken to test, isolate, contain and mitigate the virus and its spread. He said so far none of the residents have had to be hospitalized because of COVID-19. One resident who was already hospitalized for another reason did later test positive, he said.
Weeks ago, staffers at the nursing home publicly stated that they had been reprimanded or suspended for wearing face coverings at work. Romano told The Standard-Times that at the time the company was simply following CDC guidelines. Now, with newer federal guidance, all employees are required to wear masks.
The news comes as nursing homes across Massachusetts grapple with the novel coronavirus. As of Wednesday, 530 COVID-19 deaths had been reported in long-term care facilities across the state and 4,163 residents and employees had tested positive. In addition, 222 long-term care facilities had at least one case of COVID-19.
Governor Charlie Baker has announced an extra $130 in funding for the facilities and said that for now, there will be a $1,000 signing bonus for those who register to work there through the state's online portal.
On Monday, the Baker administration updated its guidance to encourage widespread testing for residents of long-term care facilities, even if they have no symptoms.