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54 dead, more than 100 test positive for coronavirus at Massachusetts nursing home

54 dead, more than 100 test positive for coronavirus at Massachusetts nursing home
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More than 50 residents of a Massachusetts nursing home have died from the novel coronavirus, the latest of a series of outbreaks in such facilities.

In addition to the deaths, 117 residents and 42 staffers at the Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford have tested positive for the virus, operator Genesis Healthcare told The Washington Post.

“We care for largely frail, elderly seniors with multiple health conditions who are already more susceptible to the common cold, not to mention a deadly and highly contagious virus like this one,” Chief Medical Officer Richard Feifer said, adding that the average age of the residents who died was 85.

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Feifer told the newspaper that the facility has abided by federal and state infection-control protocols and in some cases has gone above and beyond. The facility screens patients and residents for symptoms three times a day and takes staffers’ temperatures when they enter the building, he said. Facility employees have also been wearing full protective equipment for over a month and visits are mostly restricted to end-of-life situations, he added.

“We are doing everything in our power — and everything medical experts know as of at this time — to protect our patients, residents and employees,” Feifer said in a statement Monday.

A Washington Post analysis of nursing facilities found that more than 1 in 6 nationwide have reported cases of the virus among residents and staff, with thousands believed to have died so far. More than 2,700 Medicare-certified nursing homes have reported at least one case, according to the newspaper’s analysis.

However, the data is incomplete, as some states have yet to release complete information on nursing home outbreaks. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a mandate in April for reporting such data to families and patients, but did not include a timeline.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said late last month that the state will spend up to $130 million on nursing facilities in the next two months, with the funding going toward staffing costs, infection control and protective gear.