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COVID-19 claims 5 lives at Elderwood Amherst nursing home

Late outbreak was unexpected
Posted at 1:51 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 13:51:02-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A COVID-19 outbreak at an Amherst nursing home has led to five recent deaths.

Chuck Hayes, vice president of communications for Elderwood, confirmed Wednesday that the group's Amherst nursing home on Bailey Avenue was the site of a recent outbreak of coronavirus. The outbreak and the deaths were first reported by The Buffalo News.

In addition to the five residents who died in recent weeks, 21 have recovered from the virus and five are still being treated, officials said.

"This follows several months of being virtually COVID-free at the facility," Hayes said.

The outbreak took some by surprise because Elderwood was not one of the nursing homes in the Buffalo region that had dozens of deaths due to the pandemic.

In fact, Elderwood in March was the first area nursing home to set up a special unit to accept COVID patients who were being discharged from hospitals but were not yet well enough to return home.

"And (we) admitted over 100 patients to that unit while the rest of the facility remained COVID-free," Hayes said. The nursing home discharged its last COVID patient from that unit in July.

But the recent outbreak appears to have occurred in early August in the memory care unit, Hayes said, though it is unclear how the virus entered the building.

“It's entirely possible that an asymptomatic individual could have introduced the virus at the facility who either had not tested positive and still carried the virus and obviously did not demonstrate any symptoms," Hayes said.

State officials loosened visiting restrictions for nursing homes statewide on Tuesday, but because of the recent outbreak visitors are Elderwood Amherst are prohibited, he said.