HERMISTON — The COVID-19 virus continues to make its way into new worksites and long-term care facilities in Hermiston.
According to the Oregon Health Authority’s weekly report, which contains data up to July 26 and was released on Wednesday, July 29, Sun Terrace in Hermiston was added to the list of congregate care facilities in Oregon that have had three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases. The report listed six cases linked to the facility.
Pam Carrier, who is the community relations director for the assisted living facility, said they are working with the county health department and other agencies to address the outbreak, including regularly checking residents’ temperatures and carefully monitoring them for symptoms. She said for now residents are being kept to their rooms other than necessary trips, such as doctor’s appointments.
“Our residents are being troopers, they truly are,” she said. “But it’s been hard on them.”
She said they are helping residents have get-togethers with family and friends via video chat to help ease some of the isolation. Not only has the pandemic been difficult on residents, she said, but it has also been difficult on staff, who have felt compelled to be extra careful isolating themselves at home during their off hours, and on the families of residents.
“We’re thankful for all of their patience and understanding,” she said.
Regency Hermiston Nursing and Rehabilitation Center remained on OHA’s list of nursing home outbreaks, with 52 confirmed cases linked to the site, through residents, staff or close contacts. The report listed five deaths of Regency residents who had tested positive for COVID-19, but a sixth death was announced by Umatilla County Public Health on Tuesday, July 28.
In an email to the East Oregonian the previous week, David Bake of Regency said the facility had been working hard since March to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 through various measures, such as temperature checks and regular testing of staff and residents.
After their first positive test on July 8, he said, they worked with the health department to complete testing on residents and staff.
“We will continue to work with both Oregon Health Authority and Department of Health officials to take the appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff members, and to meet this extraordinary challenge in a compassionate and understanding way,” he said.
Guardian Angel Homes in Hermiston was not listed on OHA’s report, but on July 28 Umatilla County Public Health announced the death of a resident there who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 25.
Tyson Frantz of Guardian Angel Homes said in an email that the home has been in close contact with the Oregon Health Authority and other agencies. He said COVID-19 has put them on “high alert” but has not altered their mission of compassionate care.
“Every resident at Guardian Angel Homes is screened at least once per day for any symptom of COVID-19,” he wrote. “Any resident expressing even a single symptom receives a COVID-19 test and enters a period of protection to avoid exposing others, until a test result is received. The reported resident’s positive test came only when blanket testing was conducted for all residents and staff.”
OHA also reported worksite outbreaks for the week. The list covers workplaces with 30 or more employees that have had at least five cases linked to them through employees testing positive or close contacts of those employees testing positive after being exposed to the employee while they were ill. The number of cases are a total for the duration of the pandemic, and worksites are taken off the list after 30 days with no new cases.