ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza gave an update Thursday regarding the county’s response to helping the local nursing homes through the coronavirus pandemic.
County officials were joined by Chief Medical Director of Common Ground Health and organizer of Monroe County’s long-term care task force Dr. Thomas Mahoney, and President and CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester Ann Marie Cook.
Bello says Monroe County has given 330,000 pieces of PPE to local nursing homes. He also says an additional 225,000 masks will be given to local facilities. Bello added there is a task force helping local nursing home facilities through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable facilities facing coronavirus, with some of the most-at risk people. According to Dr. Mendoza, 30% of confirmed cases and 85% of COVID-19 deaths have been people 70 years and older.
And it’s not just the residents, nursing home staff members face risks too.
“We haven’t run into any serious issues at this time with staff being insufficient to care for the patients in homes,” Dr. Mahoney said. “It has required a shifting of staff in some cases it has required nursing home residents to move in order to be in facilities where the care can be provided.”
Bello said Governor Cuomo will be signing an executive order requiring positive COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing home residents be reported to their family members within 24 hours. Dr. Mendoza said the county doesn’t find out about COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes right away.
“The nursing home deaths will occur unbeknownst to us, we will find out about them after the fact through vital records,” said Dr. Mendoza.
He also said positive nursing home resident COVID tests don’t go to the county right away. They are processed in a state lab and the county downloads results in the morning. He said the state will soon be looking into each individual nursing home in regard to COVID.
“We’ve made the state aware of the nursing homes where we believe there may be something to look into but we have left it up to them to do that investigation.”
When it comes to best practices, Lifespan CEO Ann Marie Cook said trying to keep staff-patient pairs consistent is important for both physical and mental health.
“The calls we’re getting are families so concerned about their loved ones and they need to know there’s consistent staffing so people see the same people every day who are caring for them,” Cook said.
The county confirmed on Wednesday that there have been 57 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 883 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County.