crescenter

A third person has died during a COVID-19 outbreak at Crescent Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bennington and one new infection was reported by state health officials.

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BENNINGTON — One new case of COVID-19 has been reported by state officials and another person has died during an outbreak associated with Crescent Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Will Fritch, director of operations with the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DIAL), said in an email that the infection total is now 71 – up one since last week – and a total of three people have died after contracting COVID-19, up from two last week.

Fritch said those testing positive for the virus include 45 residents and 26 staff members.

OFFERING SUPPORT

“Both the Department of Health and the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living have been supporting Crescent Manor in their response to this outbreak since the initial cases were identified (since before this situation met outbreak definition),” Fritch said.

He added, “It is our standard approach to begin providing technical assistance through ‘response calls’ with all [long-term care facilities] upon identification of even a single case.”

Fritch said discussions involving facility personnel can include an overview of the operation, including identification of specialty care units; an overview of the situation involving COVID-19 cases and the affected areas of the facility; staffing capacity and needs within the facility; and personal protective equipment, including escalation to the use of N95 face masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection when indicated.

Crescent Manor officials did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.

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Crescent Manor was purchased in August for $8.4 million by Pac Holdings, LLC, of Valley Stream, N.Y., according to town assessor records. The facility on Crescent Boulevard in Bennington recently was listed as having 90 beds.

RECOMMENDATIONS

State health personnel made several recommendations concerning the Crescent Manor outbreak, Fritch said. Those included frequent rounds of testing to identify cases early and enact isolation measures promptly, and the use of N95 masks, eye protection, gowns and gloves. Universal masking recommendations also remain in place.

Quarantine was recommended for exposed residents and unvaccinated staff. There was a pause to communal activities and dining, as well as visitation, Fritch said, until a recent update from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandated more broad visitation allowances at long-term care facilities.

“Our teams provided infection control guidance and the facility has been both receptive and engaged,” he said. “They have an infection preventionist on-site who has been educating staff on topics such as appropriate donning and doffing of PPE (personal protective equipment).”

He said the teams also “supported the facility in accessing monoclonal antibody therapies for their residents.”

“The Department of Health has been in frequent contact with this facility providing support,” according to the email. “This support does not routinely include an on-site visit unless there are significant concerns about lacking infection control practices or compliance with our recommendations.”

In this case, the department “had surveyors on-site a couple months before this outbreak and there were no gaps identified,” according to the email.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien

@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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