MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Five of Muskegon County's COVID-19 related deaths have stemmed from assisted living facilities.
Public Health - Muskegon County (PHMC) released a statement Wednesday confirming that four residents of Seminole Shores Assisted Living and one resident of DaySpring Assisted Living had died from the virus.
Muskegon County has a total of 173 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths as of Wednesday.
"PHMC appreciates the diligent efforts that both facilities have been making to follow all recommended strategies to protect their residents and employees in these high risk settings. Both facilities have fully cooperated with PHMC on investigations of positive cases," a statement from the department read.
Heritage Senior Communities Assisted Living Homes, which owns Seminole Shores Assisted Living, is now in the process of testing all staff and residents at its nine senior communities. The plan is to have all testing completed by April 24. So far, facilities in Ottawa, Washtenaw and Saginaw counties have been tested. The Ottawa facility has lost four residents to COVID-19, and six other residents and two employees currently have the virus. At the Saginaw and Washtenaw facilities a total of three employees tested positive. No residents tested positive for the virus in either facility.
“Because we know that there are asymptomatic carriers of this virus, we feel that proactive testing is our best option for protecting our residents, our staff and their families at home.” – Scott Reenders, President, Heritage Property Management.
Starting April 21, nursing homes are now required to report to Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services with daily updates related to COVID-19. Later this week, state health officials say they will begin publicly posting the nursing homes and other congregate care facilities where cases and deaths have been confirmed.
"We have at least 243 congregate care facilities that are reporting outbreaks of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, and that's very concerning," said the state's chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, during an April 20 press conference.
Nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities and assisted living facilities will all be required to submit up-to-date information regarding current capacity/bed availability, personal protective equipment inventory and the current number of COVID-19 cases and deaths within their facility.
MDHHS is also launching COVID-19 Regional Hubs to treat COVID-19 patients from congregate care facilities, who do not require hospital-level care.
Metron of Cedar Springs, a Kent County nursing home, reported an outbreak late last month after 31 residents and 5 staff members tested positive for the virus. Just over a week later, the facility confirmed that six of those residents had died.
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