The Journal Gazette
Thursday, April 09, 2020 5:40 pm

Nursing home residents, staff member have COVID-19

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – A Fort Wayne nursing home has joined a growing list of long-term care facilities dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

Life Care Center of Fort Wayne, 1649 Spy Run Avenue, has five residents and one staff member who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said a state strike team visited the facility Monday and did the testing.

Messages left at Life Care were not returned today. 

Allen County cases are now at 112 with two new deaths, bringing the total to nine. Statewide there are 6,351 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 245 deaths.

Several area counties also saw increased numbers. DeKalb County now has its fifth case.

Adams County Health Officer Dr. Michael Ainsworth told The Journal Gazette Thursday that two additional residents have tested positive – doubling the county total to four. But those cases won't be reflected in the state's dashboard until Friday.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box released data on Wednesday showing there have been 31 deaths in 12 Indiana nursing homes.

The state has 735 nursing homes and stand-alone residential facilities where 65,000 Hoosiers reside.

Health strike teams had tested nearly 600 people in nursing homes, groups homes and prisons as of Wednesday. Of those, 191 came back positive – 170 of them are long-term care residents; 12 in group homes and the rest in correctional facilities

Box said Thursday that most of the time the strike teams find that nursing homes are following proper infectious control protocols. But she said employees go home at night and to the grocery and can unknowingly bring it back into the facility without showing any symptoms.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said she could not comment on any specific cases but did send a general statement about long-term care facilities. 

She said the coronavirus is extraordinarily infectious. Experts estimate this virus is three times as infectious as influenza. Part of the reason for this is because this virus is transmitted via an ultrafine mist, which remains suspended in the air for up to three hours after talking. In addition, this virus can live on surfaces for hours up to 72 hours depending on the surface.

"Allen County is not immune to this phenomenon as we have also had cases in LTC facilities. We are working closely with the facilities and the Indiana State Department of Health to minimize the risk to residents and staff. We have experienced great cooperation with everyone thus far," McMahan said. "Unfortunately, we will likely continue to experience cases in communal living as this virus works its way through our community, and we will continue to rely on a these strong partnerships to protect the health and well-being of all Allen County residents."

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required