Coronavirus Cases Found Among Staff At Bennington Nursing Home | Off Message

Coronavirus Cases Found Among Staff At Bennington Nursing Home

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FILE PHOTO: JAMES BUCK
  • File photo: James Buck
Building-wide coronavirus testing at a hospital-owned nursing home in Bennington has turned up a pair of employee cases, with many results still pending.

The testing follows an earlier resident case at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, a 150-bed facility tied to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, that was not publicly announced. That patient tested positive during the first week of April after being transferred to the emergency department for COVID-19-like symptoms, SVMC chief medical officer Trey Dobson said.

The resident is believed to have contracted the virus at a different facility, but developed symptoms during a 14-day quarantine period following transfer to the nursing home, Dobson said.



At that time, the facility, "in conversations with the state," decided to test other residents in one unit of the building. The tests were negative, Dobson said. But on Sunday, he said, the home decided to test all residents and staff, even though none had symptoms, to be "as vigilant as possible."

About 75 percent of employee tests had come back as of Wednesday afternoon, with two of them positive. Those individuals had some contact with residents, but are not direct caregivers, Dobson said.

"We're very confident that all three of these individuals — the patient and the two staff members — contracted their COVID-19 through separate means," Dobson said.

A majority of resident tests are still pending, but Southwestern Vermont Health Care officials don't currently consider the known cases to signify an outbreak within the building.

The Centers for Living and Rehabilitation began various preventative steps, including resident temperature checks, in mid-March, Dobson said.
The organization notified families and employees of the initial case, but did not make a public announcement. The home appears on a list of active facility outbreaks that the Vermont Department of Health provided to Seven Days upon request.

Dobson said the organization would be as transparent as possible with the remaining test results. "All of these residents are our families," he said.

Outbreaks at two Burlington nursing homes have infected more than 120 residents and staff and remain the largest clusters in Vermont.
Not every positive case at a nursing home has led to wider infection, however.

At Franklin County Rehab Center, one resident tested positive last week. The individual was asymptomatic, but was tested because the now-former resident had contact with an outside agency worker who had the coronavirus, administrator Coleen Kohaut said.

The center then tested all other residents and most staff, all of whom tested negative.

"We're truly blessed that our infection-control procedures were followed and we didn't have any further concerns," Kohaut said.

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