The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a Nebraska assisted living facility operated by Enlivant to evacuate its residents to other homes and undergo a full-scale disinfection process. A similar situation played out in New Jersey, raising the prospect that temporary facility closures will be among the Covid-19 effects that senior living providers must cope with.
The temporary closure of Enlivant’s Carter Place Assisted Living in Blair is the first such evacuation in the state, according to News Channel Nebraska.
Chicago-based Enlivant operates 170 independent living, assisted living, memory care and short-term stay communities in 26 states, including five communities in Nebraska.
Carter Place’s small size was a factor in the evacuation, an Enlivant spokesperson told Senior Housing News. The community is home to only 23 residents, and several residents and staff members have tested positive for Covid-19.
“The Three Rivers Public Health Department and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with our medical director, concluded that the best course of action was to relocate residents to nearby health care facilities to ensure their continued safety,” the spokesperson said.
Residents who have tested positive are in self-isolation at other health care facilities and residents who are considered to have been exposed but remain asymptomatic are also self-quarantined at another health care facility. All Carter Place employees are in self-quarantine and will continue to receive pay and benefits during this period.
Enlivant does not anticipate any further evacuations, but is monitoring communities with local health departments and any changes in action will be determined with input from those groups, in conjunction with Enlivant’s medical director and community leaders.
“We have taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of our residents and employees, which continues to be our top priority,” the spokesperson said.
Carter Place’s evacuation highlights the extreme pressures the fast-growing pandemic is placing on the senior housing industry, and it is not an isolated case.
Seventy-nine residents at St. Joseph Senior Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing facility in Woodbridge, New Jersey, were relocated to a CareOne facility in Whippany, New Jersey, WKXW-FM reports. At least one dozen residents and staff tested positive for the virus.
The spread of Covid-19 among the employee base left “a limited number of staff working back-to-back shifts to assist more than 90 residents,” the local news source reported.
St. Joseph would not comment to SHN on the evacuation.
Local and state authorities are not only playing a role in evacuation situations, but are escalating their involvement in infection control.
In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp announced the deployment of 100 National Guardsmen to assisted living facilities and nursing homes across the state to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The move comes as Kemp will sign a shelter-in-place order for the Peach State on Thursday.
The Georgia Health Care Association estimates more than 30 facilities across the state with residents who have tested positive for the virus. The Guardsmen will be used to audit sanitation methods, train staff on stricter infectious disease control protocols and clean facilities.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reports 4,638 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of those, 139 have died.