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E'town nursing home worker tests positive for COVID-19

Press-Republican - 7/31/2020

Jul. 31--ELIZABETHTOWN -- A worker at the Essex Center nursing home here tested positive for the coronavirus, but has completed mandatory isolation with no symptoms.

Essex County Department of Public Health Senior Public Health Educator Andrea Whitmarsh said routine testing of Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare staff members identified the positive COVID-19 case on July 27.

"This person, who was asymptomatic, was identified through routine staff testing, required by Executive Order 202.40," she said by email. "The individual works in an area that has very minimal exposure to residents."

The employee is on the support staff and doesn't have direct contact with the facility's residents.

"We have been working closely with the nursing home and the State Department of Health to investigate, conduct contact tracing, and monitor compliance with all applicable state guidelines," Whitmarsh said.

"The positive case was issued an Order of Isolation and all contacts were issued Orders of Quarantine from our Health Department. We have been and will continue to conduct daily monitoring on all of these individuals throughout their isolation/quarantine periods."

The person with the positive case completed the isolation period and came off isolation as of July 28, Whitmarsh said.

"They were never symptomatic "

The 100-bed Essex Center is owned by the Centers for Healthcare of New York City, and is the former Horace Nye Nursing Home, located behind the Essex County complex on Park Street.

Centers for Healthcare spokesperson Jeff Jacomowitz said the employee who tested positive has not shown any symptoms of the virus and learned about the results after one of the latest rounds of facility-wide testing that continues.

"Screening at the door continues to be diligent and employees have been wearing PPE since early March, as per the guidelines of New York State Department of Health and the CDC," he said by email. "The health and safety of our employees and residents are first and foremost our top priority."

A staff member at the 75-bed Elderwood at Ticonderoga nursing home also tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Neither worker is believed to have infected residents. In both cases, all residents and employees had to be tested to determine if they had the virus.

Visitation at both facilities is currently suspended.


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