COVID-19 update graphic

COVID-19 outbreaks tied to CHI Mercy Medical Center and Curry Manor Memory Care grew substantially over the past week, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Mercy’s outbreak has grown to include 34 people, up from 25 last week.

And Curry Manor’s outbreak grew from three last week to 13 this week.

Curry Manor Administrator Renee Briggs said the cases there have been split between staff and residents of the facility.

Briggs said eight staff members quit early on due to the pandemic, so the recent illnesses have left the remaining staff — usually at about 50 — shorthanded and it has been a struggle.

“There’s several of us that have worked night and day for 17 days already. We’re just praying for the end to come soon,” she said.

Two of the patients have gone to the hospital, but the others are being housed in a makeshift COVID-19 unit. A new round of tests have been done, with results expected soon and Briggs believes the facility’s case numbers will go up again.

“We’re plugging away though. We just love these residents, and we’re doing our best to take good care of ’em,” Briggs said.

That’s not easy in a memory care facility, where some simply can’t understand what’s going on or the need for safety measures like remaining in their rooms or wearing masks.

“One gentleman, he just about ran over me because I was kindly trying to get him to stay in his room,” she said.

The man had tested positive for COVID-19.

“They just don’t understand, and so they get combative. It’s not easy on a good day,” she said.

There are some good moments, she said. One man had stayed his 10 days on the COVID-19 unit and was scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

“We’re getting his room all spiffied up for him, get him showered and shaved and all that stuff so he feels good. There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

A county spokesperson said last week that not all of Mercy’s outbreak numbers actually reflected staff illnesses. The OHA includes contacts of staff members who get sick in its workplace outbreak counts.

That’s not true of care center outbreaks, where only staff and patients are included in the totals.

No new Douglas County businesses were added to the outbreak list in OHA’s weekly report on Wednesday.

Some organizations already on the list had smaller increases or none at all.

Umpqua Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation was at 16 cases, up from 13 last week. The Roseburg VA Medical Center was at 15, up from 13 last week. The Sutherlin Bi-Mart rose from six last week to seven this week.

Organizations still listed as active but with no new cases included Timber Town Living and Clint Newell Auto.

Evergreen Family Medicine was moved off the active outbreak list.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported 23 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the county total to 701 since the pandemic began in March.

Fourteen Douglas County patients are currently hospitalized with the illness, 13 locally and one out of the area.

The Douglas Public Health Network is supporting 729 people in isolation or quarantine. That includes 216 people with the illness who are in isolation, and 513 people who are quarantining because they have been in close contact with someone who has it.

Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 1,099 new cases and 10 new deaths on Wednesday. That brings the total statewide cases to 59,669 and the statewide death toll to 788.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon rose to 406 on Wednesday, a new record, with 94 of those patients in intensive care unit beds, OHA said.

The county will offer another drive-thru testing clinic on Friday. Patients who would like a test should contact their doctor first. Patients without a primary care provider can contact Sutherlin Aviva Health Clinic at 541-459-3788.

Also at 4 p.m. on Friday, Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer will hold the next of his twice weekly Facebook Live question and answer sessions. Those are available at the Douglas Public Health Network’s Facebook page.

The county offers a COVID-19 hotline at 541-464-6550. It’s staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(7) comments

CitizenJoe

"“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she said."

Train.

Mike

What exactly are our County Commissioners doing to protect the County's most vulnerable people in these care facilities? Our Commissioners publish a daily press release touting their success as being the first county to have drive through testing, the first county to reopen, the first county to open its schools. How about our Commissioners announce in their daily press release what they are doing to protect the most vulnerable in our county rather than brag about meaningless successes. Why can't out Commissioner's press releases tell us whether they are testing EVERYONE at the senior care centers to identify and isolate coronavirus cases from the other most vulnerable patients? What are they doing to help provide medical staff and resources? Why must cases and deaths continue to increase at these care centers and our Commissioner's daily press releases mention nothing about it?

smb

1. The nursing homes are privately owned businesses. The corporate HQs for all of them have been given the directives from OHA, have a direct pipeline of assistance from OHA too. The local public health authority is therefore freed up to work with other non-nursing home businesses for their outbreaks.

2. They have a separate flow, very robust, of PPE directly from the state. Same for testing supplies which they are using. The state will also (and has) assist directly with testing processing.

3. Dr Dannehoffer has answered these sorts of questions for some time now, and attending his FB livestreams let you ask him in realtime. Maybe spend some time attending those and asking the questions. You would have heard 100% of the info above if you did.

Stop implying nefarious intentions just because you don't have all the facts. And dont' assume it's not being publicized just because it doesn't follow the medium you prefer, the News-Review. DPHN's FB page is a resource to use, and you can ask a question and they will get back to you.

Mike

Just because Dr. Dannenhoffer says something doesn't mean it is true. I can provide you with numerous, numerous misleading and false statements and claims Dr. Dannenhoffer has made. Just let me know. I can easily list them.

Has Dr. Dannenhoffer answered why NONE of his daily press releases has mentioned anything about the outbreaks at any of the three local senior care centers. If you had a family member living in that senior center, wouldn't you want to know your family member might be infected there? If you were a worker there, wouldn't you want to know you could possibly be exposed when you went to work that day?

Mike

Curry Manor Memory Care Administrator Renee Briggs said, eight staff member quit...have left the remaining staff shorthanded and it has been a struggle...several of us have worked night and day for 17 days already." Curry is housing patients in a makeshift COVID-19 unit. Two patients have gone to the hospital.

If there is a "direct pipeline of assistance from OHA" as YOU say, why isn't it doing anything for Curry?

Mike

Mercy Medical Center’s most recent workplace outbreak added 9 more coronavirus cases since last week and is now up to 34 cases according to the Oregon Health Authority Weekly Report (below link). Mercy’s first workplace outbreak occurred in August and resulted in 10 cases. And Mercy owns Evergreen Family Medicine which also had its own workplace outbreak with 5 more cases in October. This means Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates have had a total of 49 coronavirus cases which are by far the largest workplace outbreaks in Douglas County.

On top of that, half of Douglas County’s coronavirus deaths have occurred at Mercy Medical Center. Furthermore, Dr. John Powell, the CEO of Evergreen Family Medicine and on Mercy’s Board of Directors, has repeatedly advocated for herd immunity and against coronavirus restrictions in three different News-Review columns and two letters to the Governor.

Are you worried about safe treatment at Mercy?

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19-Weekly-Report-2020-11-18-FINAL.pdf

mworden

Carisa, thank you for the thorough report. IMO, when people have factual info it helps them make better decisions and feel less distress.

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