Coronavirus outbreak at Massachusetts nursing home kills 54 residents

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A Massachusetts nursing home has reported a large coronavirus outbreak that killed 54 seniors who lived there and sickened 117 other residents.

The rising death toll at the Courtyard Nursing Care Center, a 224-bed facility located in Medford that sits behind a hospital, has escaped widespread public notice for weeks, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer for the nursing home’s operator Genesis Healthcare, said the first death was April 5, according to the paper. The paper reported being told about the deaths after inquiries.

The virus also sickened 42 staffers - but not all those who work there have been tested yet, the paper reported.

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Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, Massachusetts.

Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, Massachusetts. (Google Earth)

“I can assure you that we are working around the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible,” Feifer said, according to the paper. “We are doing everything in our power — and everything medical experts know as of this time — to protect our patients, residents, and employees.”

Coronavirus outbreaks have ravaged nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

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In Massachusetts, long-term care facilities account for almost 60 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, according to the Globe.

There have been 71 virus-related deaths at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, at least 46 at a Lawrence nursing home and 49 at a Belmont facility.

Feifer said the average age of those who died at Courtyard Nursing was 85.

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He said the facility cares for "largely frail, elderly seniors with multiple health conditions who are already more susceptible to the common cold, not to mention a deadly and highly contagious virus like this one,” the paper reported.

The scope of the virus outbreak scares Reyita Ramos, whose 94-year-old mother has lived at the nursing home for four years and tested positive for the coronavirus a week ago, the Globe reported.

Weeks ago, she appealed on social media for donations of masks and gowns for Courtyard Nursing.

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“My heart goes out to these people and I just want them to get all the support they can get,” Ramos said, according to the paper. “I feel like my mom and those residents deserve it because we are not out of the woods, not with this virus.”