It is with heavy hearts that Baker County announces the first COVID-19 related death in the county. The individual was a resident at Meadowbrook Place Assisted Living Community in Baker City, and had underlying medical conditions.
“This is a very sad day for our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Resident health and safety continues to be our top priority. We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 within our community, including staying in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps. Due to respect for the resident and family we will not share personal information. Again, this is a sad day and we ask you to remember the member of our family that passed away,” said Deanna Smith, Regional Director of Operations for Concepts in Community Living, the management company for Meadowbrook Place.
Nancy Staten, Baker County Health Department Director, says, “I really hoped this wouldn’t happen in our community. My heart goes out to the family, friends and loved ones of this individual, and we at the Health Department all extend our deepest sympathies. This is a sad reality of how COVID-19 can affect those at high risk, and as a community, we are responsible for protecting each other.”
To protect the privacy and well-being of the family and to maintain compliance with HIPAA regulations no further information about the individual will be released by the County. We encourage everyone to be respectful as a family in our community grieves.
The Baker County Health Department has been notified of 10 positive COVID-19 cases connected to Meadowbrook Place Assisted Living Community in Baker City. Staff at Meadowbrook Place, have consulted with County Health Department officials, the state licensing team at Oregon Department of Human Services and inhouse consultants on the situation. Baker County Health Department is supporting the Meadowbrook staff with contact tracing, isolation and notification of individuals who may have been exposed through close contact.
The staff at Meadowbrook have notified residents, families and staff of confirmed positive cases in the community and provided notice of the aggressive efforts that are taking place to help mitigate further spread. None of the residents or staff are currently hospitalized and no deaths have been reported in connection with the outbreak as of Friday.
Staff at Meadowbrook have been preparing since early March to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 into the community. Staff have been following best practice guidelines for infection control and prevention as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and following the directives of the regulatory body at the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) in their preparedness efforts.
“The Baker County Health Department has prepared for the possibility of an outbreak in a congregate care setting, and we are working closely with the staff at Meadowbrook to protect the residents and staff. We provided clear guidance for responding to this situation and controlling the spread of illness. This situation is very serious, and in order to protect those in our community who are most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, the best thing any of us can do is stay home when we’re sick and watch our distance from others.” Baker County Health Department Director Nancy Staten said.
Meadowbrook Place staff initiated blanket Covid-19 testing for all residents and staff, although some results are still pending. At this time, the majority of individuals testing positive are asymptomatic. Residents are self-isolating in their apartments and staff are donning full personal protective equipment at all times. Meadowbrook staff have experience managing illness outbreaks such as flu, and have a heightened awareness of the possible risk to older adults posed by viral illnesses, such as flu, norovirus and Covid-19. “At this time, we are focusing on the safety and well-being of our residents, as we follow the guidance of federal, state, local officials’, says Suzanne Miller, Executive Director. “We are keeping our residents, staff, and family abreast of the latest developments and will continue to do so.
Baker County has released two new documents that answer recent questions county staff has received about quarantine and isolation. Using a question and answer format, one document provides answers to general commonly asked questions, while a second document gives answers specifically for employers. The new Q&A information is available on the Baker County COVID-19 website, https://www.bakercountycovid19.com.