UPDATE: COVID-19 comes back to Providence Mt. St Vincent; Death total rises to four
UPDATE 5pm Nov. 24
Providence Mt. St. Vincent released a statement late on Tuesday on the current status:
"The current COVID-19 outbreak at Providence Mount St. Vincent has our full attention and we’re taking it very seriously. The health and safety of our residents is always our number one priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep them safe. As of today, 15 of our residents are currently positive and 11 of our caregivers have tested positive for COVID-19. We are heartbroken that 4 of our beloved residents have died from the disease and we extend our deepest sympathies to their loved ones in their time of great loss.
Very early on in the pandemic around March, we had an outbreak of COVD-19 at The Mount.
Prior to having much information or guidance, we rapidly implemented screening procedures, visitor restrictions and physical barriers. We shut down communal dining, implemented universal masking, and implemented facility wide testing. We began twice daily temperature and oxygen monitoring on every resident and patient. We implemented screening and temperature checks of all staff upon entering the building.
Through these efforts, we were able to contain the virus with no resident testing positive for 6 months.
Unfortunately, given COVID fatigue in the broader community, there has been an exponential rise in cases. We saw this surge in our region and across the country. Much like awaiting a tsunami, we began taking additional steps given that the population we care for is at very high risk. For example, prior to any resident testing positive, we added the universal wearing of face shields by all caregivers and weekly auditing of care stations for all infection prevention practices. Any resident with a low-grade fever was put on immediate isolation, presumed to be positive and all care delivered by caregivers donning full PPE.
Despite our efforts the virus entered our community in early November.
Providence Mount St. Vincent is a residential community serving nearly 400 elders with an average age of 94. It is challenging to help them follow all precautions, such as mask wearing, social distancing and
staying in their rooms most of the time. Many have some level of dementia which exacerbates this challenge.
As we face this second outbreak, we are co-horting every resident who has tested positive either in a private room or in a dedicated unit on our 5th floor. This includes any person who may have been exposed as we presume that they are positive while awaiting test results.
In anticipation of the continued surge in our region over the Thanksgiving holiday, we are increasing our caregiver testing to twice per week.
We are encouraging residents to stay in their rooms, but we must also balance the physical and emotional impact of complete social isolation. Their spirit, heart, cognition and physical well-being must also be supported as we navigate this pandemic.
As a higher number of positive cases occur in the region, it becomes more challenging to prevent it from entering the Mount. Additionally, as people rush to get tested so that they may justify travelling, they have caused a higher volume of testing and thus a slower turnaround of test results for vulnerable elders in communities such as ours.
We believe there is hope on the horizon, but we must shut down the virus at the broader community level first. This requires hard work and a lot of difficult decisions.
The direct caregivers who are working the front lines must be honored for the sacrifices that they are making. Many are facing losses of loved ones as well as detrimental financial impacts in their own families and yet show up to serve every day. The public at large perhaps doesn’t see in full view the tremendous sacrifices and loving care that is taking place.
“Let’s not forget that we all depend on each other”, said Dr. David Roesel, MD and provider at Providence Mount St. Vincent. “Every action will affect another person. The elders in our care built the very society that we enjoy. They deserve our very best efforts to keep them safe. Each human life is more important than the economy. We can figure out the finances later, but once a life is gone, it’s gone. Be careful. Wear a mask. Stay at home. These are real human souls among our elders who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. When you see the finish line, is not the time to stop running.”
UPDATE Nov. 24
According to Providence Mt. St. Vincent a fourth person has died due to complications from COVID-19. The most recent infection was diagnosed on Nov.21. No further information was offered.
COVID-19 which is seeing a major resurgence here and across the nation has come back to Providence Mt. St. Vincent in West Seattle infecting 14 residents and 11 staff members. Three residents have now died according to the facility hotline.
The first detected case was found November 8 with one resident.
Providence is a "living care" community for older adults and has more than 400 residents.
In Washington State, where the first cases were detected last Spring, the number of total nursing home cases has risen to 2534. 556 residents have died according to Data.cms.gov as of Nov. 8. That number has gone up since then.
Back in April 15 residents and 10 staff members were diagnosed. At that time the facility deployed rapid testing to try and curb the spread, which saw success. They also instituted more stringent measures. They said then that they were doing, "daily monitoring of all residents, patients and caregivers for any signs of illness, especially a fever or cough. We are closed to visitors with the exception of end-of-life visits which are accommodated on a person-by-person basis, and we screen everyone that enters the building. In addition to our heightened disinfecting and cleaning procedures, we are wiping down high touch areas several times throughout the day."
This story will be updated.
This is heart breaking news. My mother was a resident there for several years so I know from a family's point of view that The Mount is the best of the best when it comes to care of the elderly. Thanks to the heroes who show up there every day to provide loving care to the residents. Know that this community loves The Mount and respects and appreciates the staff who do this hard work.