National Guard Mobilizes at Easton Nursing Home Hit by COVID-19
The Massachusetts National Guard has been deployed at a long-term care facility in Easton after the Southeast Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center reported that "numerous residents" have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
The National Guard will conduct COVID-19 testing at the facility under a pilot program established by state public health officials, according to a release from John Guilfoil Public Relations, LLC.
An undisclosed number of residents have reportedly been hospitalized and others are awaiting test results. An isolation floor for confirmed patients and symptomatic residents has been established and other measures have been taken, according to the release.
Easton officials including Public Health Nurse Kristina Flanagan, Emergency Management Director Kevin Partridge, Director of Health and Community Services Kristin Kennedy and Town Administrator Connor Read are said to be closely monitoring the situation.
Other nursing homes and sites for the elderly across Massachusetts have been infected with the coronavirus.
A pilot program was launched this week by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts National Guard and the State Public Health Laboratory in conjunction with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to mobilize the Guard at long-term care facilities and rest homes throughout the state in order to conduct extensive testing of residents.
Southeast Rehabilitation requested the service, and today COVID-19 testing of residents will reportedly begin. A small number of guard members will enter the facility wearing personal protective equipment and swab the residents. The samples will be delivered to the State Public Health Laboratory, which will coordinate with the Broad Institute in Cambridge for testing.
"The COVID-19 crisis requires that we bring all resources -- local, state, and federal -- to provide to support our communities and particularly long-term care facilities as their populations are at higher risk," said Town Administrator Connor Read in a statement.
"We want to protect our most vulnerable residents from this deadly disease and we will be monitoring the situation at Southeast Rehabilitation and other long-term care facilities in town." Chief Partridge added. “We sincerely hope these efforts will further protect the residents of Southeast Rehabilitation and will hopefully save lives."