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'Cluster' of COVID-19 cases discovered at Parma nursing home

Parma nursing home
Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 20:03:15-04

PARMA, OH — The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said it's investigating a "cluster" of coronavirus cases inside a Parma nursing home.

"We are all working to identify and understand the scope of issues there as soon as we can," said Dr. Heidi Gullett, Medical Director for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

ManorCare said four patients, who tested positive, are currently in the hospital, one patient, who tested positive, is being treated in isolation at the center and nine employees tested positive and are on self quarantine outside of the facility.

Gullett said ManorCare is working with local and state health officials on the response.

Because of the age of many of the residents, and the possibility of pre-existing health issues, nursing home residents are considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for ManorCare said the affected individuals are not currently in the nursing home. ManorCare is also restricting visitation, has put a hold on all new admissions, increased sanitizing and cleaning, isolated high-risk patients and is regularly checking residents for symptoms, according to the spokeswoman.

Federal records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show the Sprague Road nursing home is certified for 130 beds.

The health department said it's working to trace who infected residents and workers came in contact with, as they do in any cluster investigation.

"It's a lot of people, but we're doing it every single day," said Gullett, "and that includes people who they may have experienced or interacted with in another facility."

Online records show ManorCare was inspected three times in the last year and cited for eight different deficiencies, including failing to ensure it had enough nursing staff last August. Overall, inspectors rate the facility as "average," but it received a "below average" grade for health inspections.

A spokeswoman said that problem was corrected and that the nursing home complies with all regulations now.

"Because we’re talking about fragile folks, we’re talking about people’s parents and their grandparents and their neighbors and their friends, and so we want to make sure we’re being sensitive to these issues and also protective of private health information as we go forward and moving through this response," said Health Commissioner Terry Allan.

When asked about the need to make the information public to inform emergency crews who might respond to the nursing home or other affected facilities, Allan said because of the level of COVID-19 in the county, all first responders were told to treat every patient they come in contact with as if they could be infected.