BRENTWOOD – The Director of Long Term Care at Rockingham County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center confirmed that an unvaccinated staff member, who contracted COVID-19, had worked on the same floor as five residents who also tested positive.
Jason Smith, director of long-term care at the 117 North Road nursing home, said two residents were hospitalized among the five who tested positive. He said only one had been hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19, the other for another illness. Both returned to the establishment.
Smith said the unvaccinated staff member has since recovered and returned to work.
The number of cases reported by Smith is lower than that reported by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, which says there have been 15 cases with seven residents and eight staff who tested positive for COVID -19. A resident also died after testing positive for the virus.
Previous story:COVID outbreak at Rockingham nursing home
However, said Smith, the deceased resident was in end-of-life palliative care and his death was “unrelated to COVID-19.” He said the nursing home is still awaiting the results of this week’s round of tests.
“COVID-19 was not the primary diagnosis for this resident receiving end-of-life care until he tested positive,” Smith said.
Smith said he was unsure why the state had a discrepancy between the nursing home epidemic figures and the figures released the day before, and that the positive cases traced back to testing across the board. the establishment made two weeks ago.
DHHS representatives did not respond to a request for comment to explain the discrepancy between its data and the nursing home’s data.
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Smith said all five residents who tested positive for COVID-19 had been vaccinated. He said that since testing positive two weeks ago, no one in the facility has tested positive for COVID-19. He said about 95% of residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and between 70 and 75% of staff.
The facility’s COVID-19 outbreak protocols require the nursing home to be closed to visitors for at least two weeks each time a positive test returns. He said the facility would reopen after regular facility-wide testing found no positive tests.
“We’ve been in and out of epidemic status since the end of June,” Smith said.
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Tom Tombarello, chairman of the Rockingham County Commissioners Council, said the council voted to mandate weekly testing at the nursing home, with unvaccinated residents and staff to be tested twice a week.
Tombarello said the board had sought legal advice on whether it was within the county’s jurisdiction to require nursing home staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He said the board could vote to approve a term in the coming weeks, if it gets legal permission.
“I would love to see us all get vaccinated, studies show it is effective in preventing serious infections,” Tombarello said. “We are still on guard and we don’t take it for granted that this pandemic is over. “
Smith said he also supports a facility-wide vaccination mandate, with narrow medical and religious exceptions. He said the nursing home still hosts a mobile vaccination site for employees, staff family members, residents and other county employees every week.
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“I support the vaccinations of our employees, as we have seen in other health systems and health communities; their employees are encouraged to begin the vaccination process, ”Smith said. “(The vaccine) is important for the population you are caring for.”
Rockingham County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is doing much better compared to other New Hampshire nursing homes, in terms of resident deaths attributed to COVID-19, last week’s DHHS announcement being the first at the facility.
Of the 1,469 deaths from COVID-19 in New Hampshire, 935, or nearly 64% of deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities since the start of the pandemic.