CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – A representative for the Corning Center tells 18 News they currently have 35 COVID-19 positive residents and 21 COVID-19 positive staff members.
All positive patients in the 120 bed facility have been relocated to one section of the building, and all of the updated cases have been submitted to various local and state agencies.
The Corning Center says that if a staff member tests positive, they are not allowed to work in the building and can not return until they fulfil their quarantine order and test negative twice.
Thus far, one resident and 13 staff members have recovered from the virus.
Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler tells 18 News that there is no direct link between Corning Center and the Lighthouse Baptist Church cluster in Chemung County.
Company Spokesperson Jeff Jacomowitz released the following statement to WETM following up on several questions regarding the facility’s protocol, reporting, and cases.
“Corning Center currently has 35 COVID positive patients and 21 COVID positive staff and all positive patients have been isolated to one section of one unit in the building. Corning Center submits updated numbers to the New York State Department of Health and other various health agencies to the countries of Steuben and Chemung. The facility continues to be highly transparent to the public, the families of the residents.
With regards to protocol, prior to our current outbreak at the Center, the facility was already following all orders, set out by the NY State DOH and CDC guidance, which is provided by state and federal regulators. The staff continue to be screened prior to their work shift upon entry. This includes symptom checks and temperature and questionnaire. All staff are required to wear face masks at all times within the facility and staff were once being tested weekly for COVID-19, now no less than twice a week. Any and all staff that obtained a positive COVID test were immediately removed from the building, as well as anyone presenting with symptoms or fever. The facility has practiced infection control with handwashing, hygiene, face mask use and sanitization since the beginning of COVID back in early March. Since cases were coming back as positive to COVID-19, the Center updated multiple protocols. Staff continue to be screened and tested the same as prior and are required to wear full PPE throughout the shift. The isolated floor requires COVID dedicated staff to wear KN95, face shields, gowns, and gloves and are required to don and doff their PPE prior to leaving the unit so there is no staff allowed on the unit that are not direct care staff. Dedication means “no floating between the units” to try to avoid any further movement of the virus. Additionally, elevators have been designated for each unit, meals are being served on disposable settings to avoid returning to the unit, sanitization continues at a 24 hour basis and all areas are sanitized, plus housekeeping staff continue to work tirelessly to sanitize all areas of the facility. Positive residents are being maintained in isolation on droplet precautions and the facility is monitoring all positive patients on a 24-hour basis. The facility has obtained a nurse practitioner to be present daily to see all positive patients, daily phone calls continue with the medical director and physicians continue to see patients in addition to NP. Positive residents families are updated by the facility on a daily basis and without saying, the facility continues to work very closely with local and state DOH. The center assures all families and friends that there have been no patients moved from a COVID negative floor to a COVID positive floor and we have cohorted and contained the entire unit of positive patients and are committed to provide every effort to avoid further spread.
Relocation of residents to other facilities is not even a discussion at this time due to strict virus containment. Moving patients from our facility to another facility would risk further spread to others, so the center is committed to making every effort stopping the spread from going outside of the facility and to the community. The only reason that relocation would occur is due to lack of staff to care for the patients and at this time, Corning Center maintains the NY state mandated number of staff to keep caring for our patients. The facility has contracts with Emergency Preparedness to assure that any need for relocation could occur quickly and seamlessly and that the facility continues to work very closely with State and Local Health Departments who have also offered to assist in the event of staffing shortages. Corning is all part of a network of nursing homes whereby any need for staffing, staff can come from other Centers facilities if need be. If this were to occur, those staff members would be screened like all other staff. These are staff who have been tested at their home facility. So at this time we have not had to activate any of local and network assistance with staffing. We do not encourage any patients to leave the facility as it would put risk to the community for further spread. We have had families request patients be discharged, sent to the hospital, or transferred to other facilities. Upon the guidelines by the CDC, we do not encourage anyone to leave the facility at this time until the outbreak has been managed. This would be undue risk to others in the community.
All staff that test positive are not allowed in the building or are immediately removed from the building. They must remain in quarantine at home for two weeks, need two negative tests and then is put on a future schedule. This protocol has not changed since the beginning of COVID in early March.
ALL cases are reported to the state and local health departments daily. They have all been provided the exact number of positive cases. It is advisable to check with the local county department of health with the most updated number and on the Corning Center website.
All questions about the tracing to the possibility about where and how the virus got into Corning Center should be directed to the CDC and the local/state Department of Health as they employ epidemiologists. Corning Center is a short and long-term nursing and rehabilitation center where we have nurses and physicians present treating seniors and others. We have maintained every single effort to keep this horrible virus out of our facility and we have been successful for six months even during the outbreaks in the community and we are not in the business of guessing to where or how the virus got in. Corning Center would like to remind the public that there is a lot of confusion about the situation, the virus, and the status of the facility. Corning Center remains transparent and available to answer questions for those that are concerned. We are diligently, tirelessly and continuously working to maintain the safety of our residents and staff.
We would like to thank the Corning Community, Hospitals, and Local Agencies for all their assistance, support and prayer while we navigate through this, your kind words and appreciation are what are keeping all of us going through the 16 hour shifts and exhaustion and we want you to know that we are incredibly thankful to this amazing community. As always, the health and safety of our residents and staff are our number one priority.”Spokesperson Jeff Jacomowitz
Steuben County currently has 66 cases of COVID-19 with 212 people in quarantine, 300 recoveries, and 44 deaths.