Five residents of Alliance Health at West Acres, a 130-bed nursing home in Brockton, died after contracting the coronavirus, according to the nonprofit company that operates the facility, located at 804 Pleasant St.
BROCKTON – Five residents of the Alliance Health at West Acres nursing home in Brockton have died after contracting the coronavirus, according to the nonprofit corporation that operates the facility.
Frank Grady, the president and chief executive officer of Alliance Health and Human Services, confirmed the deaths in an email on Tuesday after inquiries from The Enterprise. In total, as of Monday night, 28 residents of the 130-bed nursing home at 804 Pleasant St. in Brockton tested positive for the coronavirus, Grady said.
The Southboro-based Alliance Health and Human Services, which operates eight nursing homes in Massachusetts, said it did its best at the West Acres nursing home in Brockton to prepare for the impact of the coronavirus, going “over and above” the guidance issued by state public health authorities and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the early use of surgical masks and other protective gear for all staff.
“Unfortunately, this virus is insidious and fast moving,” according to a statement from Alliance Health, emailed to The Enterprise by Grady late Tuesday afternoon. “Despite our best effort and the advice of state’s epidemiologists, the virus has entered our facility and as of last night we have 28 COVID-19 positive residents, and five residents have passed away. We have, and will continue, to inform family members about the condition of their loved ones, and we share their pain and loss.”
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The National Guard is offering assistance to the West Acres nursing home, as well as the Saint Joseph Manor nursing home on Thatcher Street, according to Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan. The Brockton mayor thanked the military for their assistance and said the city needs to continue to look out for its senior population.
“They are the ones greatly impacted,” Sullivan said. “The seniors are vulnerable. Look across the nation and the world.”
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The Enterprise also reached out to Saint Joseph Manor and its parent company, Covenant Health, seeking information about the situation at that nursing home on the east side of the city. In an email late Tuesday afternoon, Saint Joseph Manor administrator Jim Keane said the Brockton nursing home is caring for 14 residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but he didn’t mention any deaths.
“These residents are being cared for in a separate area of our facility to limit the possibility of exposure to others,” Keane said. “Like most other facilities, St. Joseph Manor is caring for residents who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19. … We are strictly following federal CDC guidelines in all areas including all prevention, containment, and mitigation protocols.”
Sullivan said he was saddened by the news of Brockton residents who died recently after contracting the coronavirus.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the departed,” the Brockton mayor said.
John McGarry, executive health officer from the Brockton Board of Health, said on Tuesday afternoon that his office was not yet informed of the deaths at the West Acres nursing home, and it was unclear if those five deaths were included in the city’s official tally at that time, which counted a total of seven people in Brockton who had died in connection to the coronavirus.
Marybeth McCabe, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said in an email on Tuesday afternoon that she was not immediately able to provide specifics about the situation at Alliance Health at West Acres. But she offered information from the Department of Public Health stating that outbreaks in nursing homes are taking place across the country. In Massachusetts, as of Monday, the Department of Public Health said nursing home residents accounted for 835 of the state’s more than 13,800 positive cases of the coronavirus.
While paying tribute to its staff who helped the nursing home become a highly rated facility, as a recipient of the 2019 Silver Quality Award from the American Health Care Association, Alliance Health and Human Services said in an email that testing has been difficult due to lack of access and slowness of test results.
“Testing has been a challenge, and all skilled nursing facilities need more access to tests and to quicker results turnaround,” according to the email from Grady. “We are grateful to the National Guard and the state for testing many of our residents, but this virus moves so quickly that more efficient and widespread testing is a must. Ideally, we would like everyone in the facility to be tested. Until that happens, skilled nursing facilities across the state will continue to see more and more cases.”
Alliance Health and Human Services said it will continue to follow guidelines from the state and federal government.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect our residents and our staff, and we will continue to heed the latest protocols and best practices released by state and federal health officials,” Grady said.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back soon for additional information.