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Things looking up for Cos County Nursing Hospital

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

January 06, 2021
WEST STEWARTSTOWN — The Cos County Nursing Hospital, located in West Stewartstown, has seen extremely dire days as the COVID-19 virus ripped through residents and staff, claiming several lives. However, a bright spot came last week on Dec. 29, when Nursing Home Administrator Laura Mills reported that the testing for that week showed no positive cases.

Mills said, "It has been a great week so far and has really given me hope for 2021. All test results from Monday were negative. Add that to the fact that we had no positive staff in the building since December 14th and the result is a closed outbreak."

Mills noted that the hospital has been cleared by Public Health of their Outbreak status. In all, the hospital tallied 62 positive residents, 72 positive staff, and 15 deaths in 59 days. She said that the outbreak status began on Halloween.

As a result of the closed status, the National Guard will no longer be on hand for testing. The facility will still continue to test every week but will gather the samples themselves. In addition to self testing, no more gowns will be required for staff on the floors unless a resident is on specific precautions or if a staff member is conducting a procedure that would cause a splash of fluids.

Moving forward, residents will still wear masks when out of their individual rooms. Mills also noted that any resident showing any symptoms will be immediately evaluated and precautions will take place including a rapid test. If an employee notices symptoms, they will be sent home and will also take a rapid test.

Mills went on to state, "We will go back to Phase one, so we will be allowing visitation again. Our County positivity rate is quite high right now so we will need to look at how we will proceed with indoor visits. We will be able to do barrier/window visits and outdoor visits, but it is not pleasant outside right now."

Safe indoor spaces are currently being worked on.

As for socialization for residents, small group activities are permitted and dine in groups must be kept under ten, with masks and maintain social distancing. Cohort groups are still required.

Currently only necessary personnel are permitted in the building and only medically necessary trips are allowed. All staff must wear a surgical mask at all times.

Another bright spot is the roll out of the vaccine.

Mills said, "The Walgreens staff was here most of the day on the 29th and immunized 40 residents and 63 employees with the first dose of the PfizerBioNTech. The day went smoothly thanks to the professional Walgreens staff and to Kaylee Noyes for keeping everything straight for us."

Mills said the plan is to stay alert for the next three weeks until the second dose can be administered.

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