Prior to last week, the Canyonlands Care Center was one of few nursing homes in the State of Utah that, since the beginning of the pandemic, had seen no cases of COVID-19 in a resident.
That streak recently ended Oct. 26. So far, no residents have died from the outbreak.
“Canyonlands Care Center is currently having a Covid outbreak,” said Colette Lyman, a registered nurse and the nursing home administrator. “We are working with the local and state department[s] of health as well as [Moab Regional Hospital] to follow all Covid protocols and provide the best possible care to the affected residents.”
While the care center has periodically seen a positive case in staff members, a resident and a staff member each tested positive on Oct. 26, and the center quickly responded.
“There have been no hospitalizations and no deaths,” Lyman said Tuesday, Nov. 2. “Visits are discouraged until the outbreak is over. All residents and staff are tested daily to try to manage the outbreak.”
Throughout the pandemic, long-term care facilities have been particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because of the airborne nature of COVID-19 virus particles and the fact that the facilities put many elderly people who are vulnerable to the disease in one, group setting.
Jillian Fryer, the care center’s director of nursing, said that the U.S. National Guard recently dispatched to Moab to inspect the isolation unit the center stood up after learning a local resident had tested positive. She said the force approved the unit, which Moab Regional Hospital helped to set up.
“Canyonlands Care Center would like to extend a special thank you to Moab Regional Hospital for all of their extra support during this outbreak,” Lyman said.
Fryer said the care center had administered monoclonal antibodies to all but one resident of the care center, including those who have not tested positive for the disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the treatment is “promising” and may reduce the risk of severe disease in people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are at high risk of more serious symptoms.
“I have been so impressed and so happy with how much our staff have stepped up,” Fryer said of the center’s response to the outbreak. “We have people putting their own lives at risk for the safety of our residents.”
As of Wednesday, Nov. 3, the care center had between 11 and 20 cases, according to the Utah Department of Health. Fryer was not immediately able to provide more specific figures, pending an inquiry to the chair of the board that oversees the care center.