submitted by Becky Bartlett, Northampton County
Gracedale Nursing Home has temporarily suspended family visitations after one resident and two employees tested positive for COVID-19. All three are asymptomatic. The resident is in an isolation ward and the two staff members are self-quarantining. The cases were discovered during a universal testing sweep which is conducted every two weeks at the facility. Staff and residents take a PCR test for the virus and get the results back within 24 to 48 hours.
“In our last round of testing there were only three positive results from approximately 1,100 tests administered,” says Director Jennifer Stewart-King. “Our goal is to show no positive infections in the next round of weekly testing. Then we will enter the prerequisite stage and work towards reopening Gracedale to visitors.”
Residents can continue to see visitors through Zoom and Skype. Northampton County purchased additional iPads in March so residents could contact their loved ones through programs such as Facebook Messenger and Google Duo. Visits on balconies and through windows are still allowed.
Gracedale re-opened for in-person family visitations on September 18th. The facility currently has 536 residents and 700 employees who care for them. Since the beginning of the pandemic, seventy-six residents have died due to the virus. Fifty-nine employees tested positive and all have resolved except for the two most recent cases which are now self-quarantining.