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Benton Harbor nursing home sees outbreak of COVID-19

Eight people at Hallmark Living Benton Harbor have tested positive, four staff members and four residents.

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — The Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health are investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 at a skilled nursing facility in Benton Harbor. Four employees and four residents of Hallmark Living Benton Harbor have all contracted the disease.

The health department said that three of the residents have died, but they were terminally ill before COVID-19.

The employees who have tested positive are isolating at home and do not have contact with the facility's residents. The residents who tested positive were isolated in their rooms.

All group activities at the nursing home have been canceled, the health department said. All the residents and employees are being monitored for COVID-19. 

Berrien County has recorded 105 positive cases of COVID-19 and five deaths as of Monday, April 13.

RELATED: Group worships from a distance for coronavirus patients at nursing home

The Hallmark Living Center has been working closely with the health department to ensure the safety of everyone at the nursing home. They are now doing health checks on all the residents and staff twice a day, residents are quarantined to their rooms, all visitors are prohibited and there is additional PPE equipment being used by staff. 

“We have known that COVID-19 is present in our community, but this cluster of illnesses and loss of life at a facility serving some of our most vulnerable in our population is a sobering reminder that our community must continue to be vigilant with our actions to keep this virus from spreading," said Nicki Britten, Health Officer at the Berrien County Health Department.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes can be particularly devastating because residents are in close quarters and typically have underlying health conditions. According to the Associated Press, there have been over 3,600 deaths of nursing home residents in the United States since the start of the pandemic. 

In Cedar Springs, a nursing home reported 31 residents and five employees tested positive for coronavirus; six of those residents have since died from the virus. 

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