Delaware creating positions to treat COVID in long-term care facilities

WILMINGTON — The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is creating new positions in order to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care centers.

The DHSS will create five incident response teams statewide within DHSS to support long-term care facilities. These teams will help with infection control training, COVID-19 testing, case tracking and coordinating responses to outbreaks and positive cases.

DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said at a press briefing last week the DHSS is looking for volunteers within the organization and state government for these teams.

“It’s a group of individuals that can go into facilities that are having an outbreak or having challenges managing their positive cases and provide another layer of support,” Ms. Magarik said.

“We know that our long-term care facilities and the workers in those facilities are working very hard but they too are struggling and sometimes they are positive themselves so they have to be out of work while the facility is managing outbreaks with residents.”

The DHSS also announced the hire of Dr. Susan Levy to be the Division of Healthcare Quality’s Long-Term Care Medical Director. Dr. Levy will also provide support for the state’s Health Operations Center and provide technical assistance directly to facilities.

Dr. Levy specializes in internal and geriatric medicine, Ms. Magarik said. Dr. Levy will start her new role today.

DHSS will also use CARES Act funding to process background checks for prospective staff of long-term care facilities and home health care agencies. Thanks to the CARES Act money, the State Bureau of Identification will use overtime hours to process these background checks.

The current status of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities is a total of 1,531 positive COVID-19 cases cumulatively involving long-term care residents, according to information released by the Delaware Division of Public Health on Friday. The DPH said 412 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

The DPH is monitoring five outbreaks in long-term care centers:

• Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington — 54 residents and 43 staff members positive.

• Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Wilmington — 45 residents and 34 staff members positive. The total number of resident cases for this facility declined since last week’s update due to a reporting error, the DPH said.

• Country Rest Home in Greenwood — 31 residents and 20 staff members positive.

• Regency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington — 67 residents and 28 staff positive.

• Lofland Park in Seaford — 19 residents and 10 staff positive.

The DPH notes staff members may include health care and non-health care personnel, such as facility vendors or other individuals working in the long-term care facility who may not be full-time facility employees.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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