Alpena County is reporting a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
District Health Department #4 says these are all linked to a long-term care facility.
“The big spike that we saw in Alpena was really related to an outbreak at a long-term care facility,” said Dr. Josh Meyerson, District Health Department #4 Medical Director.
In a statement, MediLodge of Alpena says they are “battling the COVID-19 pandemic and caring for positively tested residents.”
They say they are following all CDC and state guidelines, as well as working with the health department.
“They have really done a significant amount of work to practice the best infection control they can, utilizing PPE, but still when you have that much contact there’s still a risk of some exposure and spread,” Dr. Meyerson said.
Dr. Meyerson couldn’t say exactly how many people linked to the facility have tested positive.
But he could confirm a recent spike of 20 cases were all linked to the facility with both residents and employees testing positive.
“For the coronavirus to get into that facility it means that there is community-based transmission, obviously residents aren’t out about or traveling or coming in from far off places,” Dr. Meyerson said. “We are doing increased surveillance and testing at these facilities, the goal is to be able to find cases earlier, so we can react quicker.”
In a statement, MediLodge says they have “the necessary supplies and personal protective equipment.” They also say staff is “meeting the needs of the residents during this pandemic.”
Dr. Meyerson suggests people continue staying home and staying safe to help mitigate the spread.
“This just highlights why we all need to take the right steps individually and as a community to help reduce the spread, especially to help protect the vulnerable population like you have here at a nursing home,” Dr. Meyerson said.
Here is the full statement from MediLodge of Alpena:
Medilodge of Alpena, like many long term care providers throughout the nation, is battling the COVID-19 pandemic and caring for positively tested residents as well as our remarkable employees. In serving the needs of our community, we prepared in advance for the outbreak knowing that we would need to address the needs of residents in the recovery cycle of the disease process. We are following all of the CDC and CMS guidelines and maintaining regular communication with the Health Department. From the beginning we have partnered with the Health Department to advocate for more testing. The facility has the necessary supplies and personal protective equipment. We are extremely proud of our professional and dedicated staff that steps up to meet this challenge head on and do not shy away from meeting the needs of the residents during this pandemic. Due to the state ordered restrictions on visitors which is so frustrating for our residents and their families, we have employed Facility Support Advocates dedicated to providing support to residents, which includes assisting with video chats with their families, and anything we can to do help them. While we cannot get into specific details due to strict confidentiality laws, we look forward to discharging some of our residents who have fully recovered from COVID-19.