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Montgomery County Outlines Actions to Protect Nursing Home Residents and Staff; Shares New State Data

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 30, 2020

Montgomery County health officials today outlined the steps being taken to protect nursing home residents and staff members from COVID-19 and shared new case numbers of some of Maryland’s most vulnerable population.  Before the first local cases of COVID-19 were ever identified, the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) shared CDC guidance about infection control and other protective measures with the facilities. Action Teams comprised of public health nurses and disease investigation staff began working with several facilities in late March to help them identify residents and staff who tested positive for COVID-19.  Enhanced infection control procedures, including temperature checks, physical separation of residents to lower the risk of exposure, stopping new admissions and cancelling group gatherings and activities went into effect.

Action Teams have daily contact with long term care facilities to:

  • Review infection control standards
  • Ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is used correctly
  • Demonstrate how to properly group residents and staff to limit potential spread
  • Show staff how to monitor residents and employees for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and identify possible new cases
  • Teach how to properly disinfect and clean rooms, common areas, and workspaces
  • Monitor list of residents and staff exhibiting symptoms and provide guidance on revision of infection control measures as needed
  • Arrange and coordinate COVID-19 resident testing through the State lab
  • Coordinate site visits from infection control consultants from the State and County action teams

Nearly 250 deliveries of PPE have gone to long term care facilities in Montgomery County to date. Those deliveries include N95 respirators, medical grade masks, isolation gowns, gloves and face shields.  Deliveries are made every two weeks with an effort to provide a two-week supply.  Facilities considered hot spots receive more frequent deliveries.  The Civil Air Patrol and the County’s Department of General Services makes the deliveries possible.  Ongoing needs for the items are being tracked, and as facilities run low on supplies, more are delivered. 

This week, the Maryland Department of Health began posting nursing homes cases throughout Maryland on the COVID-19 website.  As of today, the dashboard shows 1,099 confirmed COVID-19 cases in long term care facilities in the County. This number includes 382 staff and 717 residents.  The State’s dashboard also reports 148 deaths among residents and 1 employee death due to the virus.

On April 5, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order mandating PPE for staff at long-term care facilities, as well as expedited testing of residents and staff members.  The order included a directive to separate COVID-19 patients from healthy residents.

In Montgomery County, there are 303 long-term care facilities, which includes nursing homes, large assisted living facilities and large group homes for the elderly. The total number of beds in these facilities is 9,187. 

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

Put the “count” in Montgomery County!  Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail.  It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important.  #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD 

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Release ID: 20-231
Media Contact: Julie Parker 2407776507