Senior Living Facilities Across the U.S. Take Safety Measures Against COVID-19

elderly woman in wheelchair with health care worker behind

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THE LATEST: The operator at the Era Living community strongly recommends residents and staff be tested for coronavirus after a resident passed away and another resident tested positive for coronavirus. Read more. 

UPDATE: The federal government along with the American Health Care Association strongly encourages long-term care facilities across the country to limit or restrict visitor access to senior living communities due to COVID-19 concerns. Read more.

Senior living communities in Washington and Maryland are taking safety measures against coronavirus, or COVID-19, after residents of or visitors to facilities test positive for the virus. Era Living community in Seattle is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local public health officials, residents, and staff to help prevent an outbreak in their facilities as well as their communities.

A resident of an Era Living facility tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined at an off-site location. The facility then began taking extra measures against the virus. These include:

  • Screening residents twice per day
  • Cleaning all surfaces twice per day
  • Canceling all activities
  • Screening essential visitors
  • Restricting access by non-essential visitors
  • Delivering meals to apartments instead of serving them in the dining area

Although the virus has hit Washington state the hardest thus far, other areas of the U.S. are also taking precautions to protect the elderly. For instance, the Village at Rockville in Maryland was notified that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 attended a recent public event at the retirement community. The risk of exposure at the event was low, but the Village is taking extra measures and closely monitoring the conditions of residents who attended the event. So far, no one has exhibited symptoms nor been diagnosed with the virus.

Such safety measures are necessary because the fatality rate for COVID-19 is much higher for the elderly population. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the fatality rate is 15% for people age 80 or older and 8% for people age 70 to 79. That’s compared to a 2.3% fatality rate for the general patient population.

Read the full article from McKnight’s Senior Living.