33 test positive for COVID-19 at South Hadley’s Vero Health & Rehab

Staff Writer
Published: 5/8/2020 7:26:55 PM
Modified: 5/8/2020 7:26:41 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — More than 30 residents and employees at Vero Health & Rehab of South Hadley have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon.

Eighteen residents and 15 employees have tested positive for a total of 33 confirmed cases, according to John Danforth, executive director of the South Hadley facility. Vero has tested all 107 residents, as well as 20 employees with assistance from the National Guard.

All residents have had their families notified, according to Danforth, and employees who tested positive are following home quarantine and other CDC guidelines before returning to work.

“Like so many long-term care facilities across the country, we are working hard to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” Danforth said in a statement sent to the Gazette. “During this time, our dedicated staff has worked diligently to keep our residents and facility staff safe and healthy. We thank them for their continued care of residents during this trying time.”

The facility is also taking protective measures such as restricting residents to their rooms, actively screening for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms, regularly disinfecting patient care areas and high-touch surfaces, and having health care workers use personal protective equipment.

At a Select Board meeting Tuesday, Town Administrator Mike Sullivan reported 10 confirmed cases at the facility at the time.

Those who tested positive or are suspected for COVID-19 infection are staying in a separate wing of the Granby Road facility, Sullivan said at a Tuesday Select Board meeting.

“In care facilities like this across the state and across the country, it’s very difficult to stem the tide in something like this,” Sullivan said at the meeting. “I know all of you were excited by the fact that we’ve avoided this for some time, but hopefully this facility will be able to deal with this quickly and get it completely under control.”

Vero is complying with public health protocols and working with the town health director are State Department of Public Health, Sullivan said.

Select Board member Sarah Etelman stressed the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of the illness.

“We know that everyone is doing the best they can, but this is why the precautions and guidelines are out there that people social distance,” she said. “And it’s not just social distancing. It’s physical distance. It’s wearing masks, and it’s not going into crowds, and it’s all of those things that are being talked about — this is exactly why.”

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