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Auburn nursing home confirms one resident tests positive for COVID-19
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CORONAVIRUS

Auburn nursing home confirms one resident tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus Outbreak

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

A week after an employee at Finger Lakes Center for Living learned they have COVID-19, a resident at the Auburn nursing home tested positive for the virus. 

Matthew Chadderdon, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Auburn Community Hospital, which owns and operates the nursing home, confirmed the positive case Sunday. He said the result came after another round of COVID-19 testing Thursday for employees and the nursing home's approximately 75 residents. 

The resident was asymptomatic at the time of the positive result, Chadderdon said. As a precautionary measure, they have been moved from the nursing home to the hospital because they have underlying health conditions. 

People with chronic health conditions are at a greater risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19. Chadderdon explained that if the resident didn't have underlying health conditions, they would've been quarantined in the nursing home. 

Since learning of the positive case, the nursing home's employees and residents have been tested twice for COVID-19. All results have been negative. Residents and staff will be tested again this week, according to Chadderdon, and residents will quarantine in their rooms for 14 days. 

"We're keeping close tabs on that, but the good thing with the resident and the employee is they both were asymptomatic and are doing very well," Chadderdon said. 

The Finger Lakes Center for Living notified residents' families by phone of the positive case. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring nursing homes to inform families within 24 hours if there is a positive case in a facility. 

The positive test at Finger Lakes Center for Living is the first known case involving a nursing home resident in Cayuga County. There have been employees at local nursing homes who have tested positive for the virus, but until last week there were no cases among residents. 

While Cayuga County nursing homes have avoided the worst of COVID-19, it has taken a toll on other nursing homes across New York. There have been more than 6,000 confirmed or presumed COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes. That doesn't include any nursing home residents who contracted the virus and later died at hospitals. 

The Cuomo administration has been criticized for a March 25 directive, which has since been reversed, that prohibited nursing homes from denying admission or re-admission to residents with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The order also prevented nursing homes from requiring hospitalized residents deemed to be "medically stable" from being tested for COVID-19 before being admitted or re-admitted to the facility. 

There have been calls from federal, state and local officials for an investigation into the state's handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

Despite how COVID-19 has affected other nursing homes, Chadderdon believes Finger Lakes Center for Living in a great position to respond to the positive case. In May, the hospital announced that the nursing home received a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal government agency which oversees nursing homes. 

Over the last two years, federal and state inspections have found no deficiencies at Finger Lakes Center for Living, which Chadderdon said is "unheard of" for a nursing home. 

"They run a high-quality nursing home with great staff. The families are connected and everything has been transparent with everyone," Chadderdon added. "It's been handled very appropriately." 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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