Prescott nursing facility has yet to cooperate with county health officials over COVID-19 outbreak
3 other local facilities working with health department
A skilled nursing care home and an assisted living residence in Prescott are two of four such facilities state and local health workers are investigating related to COVID-19 outbreaks among patients and staff, officials said on Wednesday.
The Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center on Scott Drive in Prescott has been publicly identified with multiple cases of patient and staff infection, but so far has not responded to the Yavapai County Community Health Services (YCCHS) team, according to Director Leslie Horton late Wednesday afternoon.
The other facility that self-identified on Wednesday is Brookdale Prescott, an assisted living facility working with the YCCHS team to mitigate spread after more than one person tested positive.
Officials there did not, however, detail whether the virus infected patients, staff or both.
GRANITE CREEK NOT RESPONDING
Granite Creek, a 128-bed facility, has been identified both through local tips to The Daily Courier via email, and in the Phoenix New Times in a recent report, as a facility with 25 residents and 16 staff testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Those Phoenix New Times numbers have not been confirmed by state or county health officials.
The Courier reached out to Granite Creek Administrator Mike Rasmussen on Tuesday, and he returned the call after hours. Multiple phone calls and emails Wednesday by the Courier staff were not returned.
YCCHS Director Leslie Horton said Wednesday that Granite Creek officials have not responded to the county’s investigation team, which is working with four facilities known to have positive COVID-19 cases.
Horton said she would prefer that facilities would self-identify, and three of those under investigation have done so, but added that she is frustrated that efforts to assist Granite Creek so far have been rebuffed.
The goal of identification is not meant to shame any one facility, or violate federally-protected patient confidentiality, but rather to help further public health safety practices, Horton explained.
As for case numbers, Horton said she could not provide details but suggested the Granite Creek figures quoted in the Phoenix New Times do not correspond with her department’s information.
Again, though, Horton appealed to facility management to return phone calls.
“They should be working with us,” Horton said about Granite Creek, noting that a lack of cooperation related to public health matters can impact state licensing for any such facility.
Phoenix News Times reported that Rasmussen confirmed the numbers Tuesday.
In the Phoenix New Times story, Rasmussen is quoted as stating staff without serious symptoms were able to still come to work to care for the COVID-19 isolated patients. The story indicated that COVID-19 positive patients have been physically isolated from those who have not been so diagnosed.
One anonymous Granite Creek nursing assistant cited in the Phoenix New Times story, who claimed to be too ill to work, said supervisors ordered a return to work despite symptoms because the facility is so short-staffed due to the virus. The assistant also stated the facility does not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff who have the most direct contact with ill patients.
A news tip submitted to the Courier via email from an individual with knowledge of the situation repeated the reported virus statistics at Granite Creek and that they “didn’t need to happen.”
“These facilities are trying valiantly to keep patients safe and it’s heartbreaking how the virus can race through and bring such devastation,” the source said. “I would not want to harm them (area facilities) by negative reporting, but I think Prescott needs to be constantly aware of what’s happening related to COVID-19 in our community. Maybe some of these stories will convince more people to wear masks.”
Officials at Brookdale Prescott, an assisted living senior home on Bradshaw Drive, confirmed it is working with health officials to manage more than one case of COVID-19 on its premises.
“We can confirm that more than one member of our Brookdale Prescott community had tested positive for COVID-19,” Brookdale Public Relations Project Manager Heather Hunter said in an email Wednesday. “Brookdale’s top priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients and associates.”
Residents’ family members and other Brookdale Prescott associates have been advised of the situation.
“We continue to diligently monitor our residents and associates for signs and symptoms, and we continue to work directly with local health officials to help ensure our residents and associates have the appropriate and necessary medical support,” Hunter said.
At Brookdale, Hunter said The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are expected to be followed, and staff are working with the county health department to reinforce them.
“We have detailed protocols and plans in place to respond to this situation, prioritizing the health and wellness of our residents,” Hunter said. “Since reports of COVID-19 in the United States were confirmed, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, Brookdale has proactively implemented precautionary measures throughout our communities.”
The Brookdale emergency response team and its operational and clinical teams “are working tirelessly to minimize chances for exposure and additional transmission of the virus.”
“We thank our staff, residents and their families for their continued understanding as we work to promote the health and wellbeing of our community members,” Hunter concluded.
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.