TROY, Ohio — Miami County Public Health is reporting one new confirmed coronavirus cases, a staff member of Koester Pavilion nursing home — The initial source of the outbreak.
- Seventh staff member of Koester Pavilion to test positive for COVID-19
- Health Commissioner optimistic about the outlook of the outbreak as there were no new hospitalizations or unexpected confirmed cases
- Four residents from Koester Pavilion and SpringMeade Retirement Community have died since the outbreak, two are confirmed coronavirus deaths, and the other two have pending test results
The new case makes 7 total staff members infected with COVID-19 — one at SpringMeade, and six at Koester.
Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said he’s actually encouraged by the progress being made in containing the outbreak despite the newly confirmed case.
“As far as new residents, we have not received any new positive cases, nor have there been any new hospitalizations as of today, which is a positive,” he said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction with this particular outbreak.”
However, he said they are in no way out of the woods as for containing this outbreak.
“It’s not unusual to see secondary spikes,” Propes said. “We haven’t seen that yet. And we hope not too. I think, I’m hoping, we are hoping the control measures at the facilities have put in place and have been recommended will prevent that.”
But a big reason perhaps why there aren’t many new cases is because they are no longer actively testing for the virus at either facility — simply awaiting existing tests to be processed.
“It’s considered an outbreak, we know it’s there,” Propes said. “If anybody’s displaying symptoms, if anybody is symptomatic, they’re being treated as they’re a probable case. So the course of action would not change whether we test them or not.”
In fact, people in Troy cannot be tested within the city because there are no more tests available. If anyone needs testing they have to visit the University of Dayton drive-through testing site — nearly 30 miles away.
There is also increased cause for concern for the safety of those closely involved with the two facilities, not only for the residents, but for the nurses as well — who Propes said are working with a critically low supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We, as well as the state EMA, have been working all the channels that we know to try to alleviate that need,” Propes said. “But there’s a shortage worldwide on PPE.”
Premier Health, who owns oversees operation for both sites, issued this statement in response to our question regarding PPE shortages for staff:
“Our staff members are wearing masks for all patients – and gowns in accordance with public health guidelines – and we continue to ask our employees to take the necessary precautions as they care for residents and patients. We continue to work closely with local and state health officials, in addition to following CDC guidelines. Our clinical and support teams are well-prepared to treat patients with COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of our patients and staff. We have the personal protective equipment that we need right now. There is ongoing conversation about potential future demand and whether there will be enough such equipment during later stages of the pandemic. Our focus has been ensuring that we do not overuse PPE outside of recommended situations to ensure we can maintain an adequate supply if and when a higher number of cases challenges our health care system. Many people are working proactively to address that long-term need, including ways to extend the life of our PPE equipment.”
Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton said the state has been working directly with nursing homes providing guidance to assist in handling the outbreak.
She said those in nursing homes and long-term care are the most vulnerable, which makes it a very difficult situation.
But she praises the nurses who are sacrificing their own health potentially during the outbreak.
“To the employees that are working so hard to keep the residents safe you are definitely our heroes,” Dr. Acton said.
As for trying to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, Miami County Public Health has not been able to do so. Propes said so far they don’t see anything that show’s Premier Health is at fault for the outbreak’s spread through not one, but two sites.
“We haven’t seen anything that would lead us to believe they’ve done anything incorrectly or against protocol or recommendations,” Propes said. “Everything that we’ve gotten from them, everything we’ve seen from them, they’ve been doing things correctly. I think this is just a sad truth what this virus is.”
For now, Propes said all information he’s receiving from Premier Health leads him to believe the staff and residents are adapting to the situation, and handling it as best as they can.
“The staff is holding up good they’re holding up well,” he said. “The residents are upbeat given the situation. Their understanding of what’s going on. It’s a tough time for everyone, all indications from the from the facility is they’re doing well.”
Moving forward, Miami County Public Health is hopeful and encouraged by the efforts of everyone involved to contain the spread of the virus. Only time will tell where we go from here.
Spectrum News 1 will continue to provide updates as we follow this story.