A coronavirus outbreak has ravaged an upstate New York nursing home, claiming at least 32 residents’ lives in its deadly march, per multiple reports.
The outbreak at The Commons on St. Anthony in Auburn started on Dec. 21, according to CNYcentral.com. The latest death toll marks a surge of 20 additional residents since Jan. 5.
A spokesperson for the Loretto-owned facility, an organization that serves older adults throughout the region, said there are 104 ongoing infections, 46 recoveries and nearly 50 staffers in quarantine, per the outlet.
The facility initiated COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 22 and reached 263 residents and over 100 staff members. Second doses were administered on Tuesday.
A spokesperson wrote to Fox News with confirmation: “We can confirm that the outbreak at The Commons occurred before Loretto began administering the vaccine,” Crystal DeStefano with Strategic Communications, serving Loretto, said in a statement. “We certainly wish the vaccines had been available sooner to help prevent the devastation caused by this virus.”
DeStefano reiterated federal guidance that COVID-19 vaccines typically require several weeks before the body builds enough immunity to protect against the disease.
According to a statement from Loretto, the building is following so-called droplet precaution, which involves full personal protective equipment (PPE) with residents, and isolating positive patients.
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“Residents are being tested on a schedule established with the Department of Health. And we continue to test employees weekly,” reads the statement, per news outlet localsyr.com.
According to state data, the nursing home is situated in the county with the highest COVID-19 percent positivity in Central New York at 9.6%. The spokesperson from Loretto also noted a high level of community virus spread in the statement: “Cayuga County and Finger Lakes region have the highest rate of community spread in the State.”
The news comes amid a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which suggested that increases in community virus spread also result in increases in virus circulation among nursing facilities.
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With this, the federal health agency emphasized the need to monitor local virus spread and prevent exposure to facilities, especially among staff potentially infected by family and others, and isolating newly admitted residents with unknown COVID-19 status.
While some concerns cropped up on social media during the virus outbreak, questioning whether deaths in the New York nursing home could be attributed to the COVID-19 vaccines, a spokesperson told CNYcentral.com that “as the CDC explains, none of the vaccines that have been approved or are in development ‘contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.'”
The recently approved coronavirus vaccines were found to be safe and effective in clinical trials, and by an independent advisory board to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. On a recent call with reporters, the CDC said anaphylaxis cases, or life-threatening allergic reactions, from the vaccines were “exceedingly rare.”
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CDC officials had repeatedly emphasized that the known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risk of serious consequences arising from COVID-19 disease.
“That doesn’t mean, however, that we couldn’t see potential serious health events in the future,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during the call.