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Our facilities are on the road to recovery

Working actively to prevent, reduce and control infections in congregate care facilities.

As we have seen across the country, people who live in congregate care facilities face a higher risk for COVID-19 disease and worse health outcomes. Many of our oldest residents may live in congregate care settings. And we’ve seen the most COVID-19 deaths among those over 65. 

People who live in these care centers are in close contact with the staff members who care for them. They may also dine in groups, socialize, and exercise together.

Residents of care facilities often have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of suffering poor outcomes if infected with COVID-19.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department jumped to action to support care facilities in the early days of COVID-19, and we are seeing positive population outcomes across the board. Residents and staff of congregate facilities make up about 21% of all COVID-19 cases (as of June 3) and account for 61% of all COVID-19 deaths in Pierce County. All but one of those deaths were among residents.

Since February, we have worked with these facilities throughout the county to ensure strong infection control guidance, availability of testing and other measures to identify cases, minimize the spread of disease and protect these vulnerable populations. 

An elderly person clasping their hands together.

Together, we are working actively to prevent, reduce and control infections in these facilities.  

People are recovering.

Our website reports data for facilities that experienced outbreaks.

The numbers are cumulative and do not necessarily represent centers with current outbreaks.  Many facilities are no longer experiencing outbreaks. Today’s COVID-19 case numbers webpage shows which facilities no longer have any active COVID-19 cases. We will update this information weekly to keep you informed of changes. Because COVID-19 is in our community, we don’t expect facilities to remain COVID-19 free over time.

Outbreaks are resolving.

Heartwood  Extended Healthcare experienced one of the county’s largest outbreaks but is currently COVID-19 free. 

“Going into this COVID-19 pandemic, we were trying to do everything we could to protect our residents and staff. That was the goal.” Administrator Bob Rowe of Heartwood said. “Obviously, we were aware of what happened in Kirkland. And we wanted to be as proactive as possible.” 

“So, we reached out after we had a positive case to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. There were a number of people from there who were very helpful. We worked together. We had questions and they had questions for us. They showed us what they had learned from other facilities, how to properly use the PPE, how to enter rooms. They were very complimentary about how we handled the situation. It made us feel like we weren’t alone. We hadn’t been down this road before. We followed every rule from the governor to DSHS, and we’re a clean building now. We have more residents here now than before COVID-19 started,” said Rowe.

Some facilities, including Heartwood, Alpha Cottages, Avamere, Pioneer Place, and Cottages at Edgewood have not reported a new COVID-19 positive test in the past 28 days. Some facilities have experienced deaths, and each death represents a life ended too soon because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a sad thing that so many of our community’s elders have died. They deserve our respect and our grief. We know this is a difficult time. 

What is coming?

As we reopen our community, we continue to monitor and support these facilities with testing, education, and information.

So far, more than 1,200 tests results have come in for congregate care facility residents and staff.  This helps us monitor any spread of disease so we can take quick and preventative action to control outbreaks.

For more information about COVID-19, visit tpchd.org/coronavirus.