Elderly COVID

Seven people died of COVID-19 in Maricopa County April 30, according to the Department of Health. All were residents of long-term facilities. Seven more died of COVID-19 the next day, with five coming from long-term facilities.

All nine deaths reported in the county May 2 came from long-term facilities, according to county health data. 

In Maricopa County, 168 people have died from coronavirus; 112 of those (67%) have been residents of long-term care facilities (including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation facilities and hospice facilities).

At least 110 long-term care facilities have reported COVID-19 cases to the county. That leaves approximately 400 long-term care facilities in Maricopa County.

Despite a testing “blitz” that started last weekend, facilities for the most vulnerable to COVID-19 are not being targeted for testing. The blitz test sites include Akos MD and Redirect Health in Glendale and Maricopa Banner Health in Peoria. For more information, the COVID-19 hotline is 844-542-8201.

“We are in talks with partners that may be able to offer testing to facilities … but we’re not at a point yet where we can offer that level of testing,” said  Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease protection of Maricopa County.

She said a scarcity of tests has made the priority to test people experiencing what may be symptoms of COVID-19. “If we start testing individuals who do not have symptoms, the first places we would look at are long-term facilities.”

At an April 30 webinar discussing the new testing, Sunenshine said the number of people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 peaked a few weeks ago. “Hospitalization levels (due to COVID-19) are stable and in general might even be decreasing,” she said.

But on May 1, 65 people were hospitalized with the disease, according to the y Department of Public Health. 

This was triple the average for April of around 20 per day. 

Of the number hospitalized for COVID-19 May 1, 13 came from long-term care homes.

Residents of nursing homes … are at the highest risk for severe complications,” Sunenshine said. “What we’re doing now is making sure a failcity with even one case has testing available to anyone who presents with symptoms.”

Spectrum Retirement Communities of Denver owns and operates 48 retirement, assisted living and memory care facilities around the country, including Palos Verdes Senior Living in Peoria.

In an April 28 letter posted on the Spectrum website (spectrumretirement.com/covid19-information), Bradley Kraus, Spectrum president and CEO, stressed the company is following social distancing guidelines

“We are fortunate that our communities continue to be minimally impacted by the virus. Only 1% of all residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19,” he wrote.

Spectrum has 3,060 staff members and 4,729 residents