GROVE CITY – Administrators at Grove Manor long-term care home don’t know how COVID-19 breached its defenses.
But after being free of virus cases until late August, the pandemic has hit the Grove City nursing, rehabilitation and personal care home.
“The problem is that this virus is very opportunistic,” said Jeff Black, chief business officer and corporate compliance officer at Grove Manor.
Grove Manor was free of COVID-19 cases until late August, and the latest reports include the deaths of 10 residents who had the virus.
Black confirmed data, including 76 cases and 10 deaths at the home, released by the state Department of Health.
Grove Manor is not a large nursing home, so employees grow close to the residents and their families, which makes it difficult for staff and administrators to deal with the deaths.
“They become like your family, and you take great pride in caring for people,” he said Monday.
As of Sept. 23, Grove Manor has had 45 skilled care residents and 31 employees test positive for COVID-19, according to the Health Department website.
Ten skilled care residents have died. There have been no COVID-19 cases in the personal care section of Grove Manor, Black said.
There are currently 34 residents in skilled care.
Grove Manor saw its first positive case toward the end of August, about six months after it took measures to help prevent the viral spread.
Black said the residents comprise a particularly vulnerable population in terms of COVID-19 because they are older and many have underlying health conditions, or comorbidities.
He said that if a resident had COVID-19 at the time of death, that case is reported to the state Health Department as a COVID-19-related death, but he could not say if any of the 10 fatalities at Grove Manor was due to the virus or a comorbidity.
Grove Manor is receiving assistance from the Regional Response Health Collaboration Program, which provides a team that includes representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state Department of Health, the National Guard, and medical professionals including registered nurses who specialize in COVID-19.
The collaboration program supports long-term care facilities and is funded by the state’s coronavirus relief fund, Black said.
“They were part of our team and it was amazing,” Black said.
Grove Manor continues to prohibit visitors, a measure implemented in early March as the state had its first reported cases. Family members have been able to stay connected with residents through phone calls and video chats.
Residents who have tested positive with COVID-19 are isolated in what Grove Manor officials call the “red” zone, and have staff members who care only for those affected. Black said “red” zone workers wear full personal protective gear — gowns, gloves, masks and face shields.
Staff members are tested for the virus regularly, and everyone is monitored closely for potential symptoms.
Black said the morale is still high among both residents and employees at Grove Manor and said that the staff feels “blessed” for the residents and their families.
“They know that we love their loved ones,” he said.
Community members and staff from other long-term care facilities have also been supportive, Black said.
While Black said the state collaboration group thinks Grove Manor has turned a corner, the staff cannot rest.
“It’s time to double down,” he said.
FOR MORE information about COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania, visit www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus and click on “LTCF Data.”