Residents test positive at Kansas nursing home

MISSION, Kan. — A nursing home where every resident has tested positive for the coronavirus in a rural Kansas county with the state’s highest infection rate has been removed from the Medicare program, putting its funding at risk.

A scathing report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited a lack of masks as a main driver in the outbreak at the Andbe Home in Norton, Kansas. Sixty-one residents and about three dozen staff members have been infected at the home, and 12 have died.

That outbreak, along with one at a nearby state prison, has brought Norton County to the point where 106 out of every 1,000 residents have contracted the virus.


The federal report said infected residents were kept in the same rooms with those who were not sick, with only a sheet separating them. Communal dining continued for two days after residents began showing symptoms, and even then the facility waited a week before testing all its residents.

Amid the outbreak, the report said, six different staff members also were observed with their masks removed. The report said the failures “placed all residents in immediate jeopardy.

The agency said the facility faces $14,860 in fines and that it will lose its Medicare funding effective Nov. 18, although its temporary manager, Mission Health Communities, hopes to make adequate changes before then.

Mission Health, which took over the facility on Wednesday, is working to help restore compliance — an effort that will involve boosting testing and infection control precautions, ensuring adequate person protective equipment and restricting visitors, said Cheri Kauset, the company’s vice president of customer experience and communications.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— WHO says Europe has reached 10 million coronavirus cases

— Spain to keep state of emergency until May 2021

— Pope Francis ends general public audiences amid virus surge in Italy

— U.S. public health experts say the nation’s response to the crises has been marked by grave missteps and missed opportunities.

— ‘Difficult winter’: Europe divided on lockdowns as cases soar. EU leaders try to coordinate their approach to virus testing, tracing and vaccines.

— Advertising executive feeds downtrodden Venezuelans from his bicycle seat. Every day, he hands out corn flour patties known as arepas to the hungry.

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— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said protestors were at her home Thursday morning after her personal information was leaked online.

Dunn said it was “scary and wrong” that anyone would feel comfortable sharing her personal information. It was unclear which group organized the protest and why they were protesting.

“It’s taken a really big toll on my family and myself,” Dunn said when asked about the protest during the governor’s weekly COVID-19 briefing. “I think it’s really unfortunate we live in a state where people feel that it is OK to harass civil servants,”

Gov. Gary Herbert

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Kansas nursing home faces severe federal penalties after deadly coronavirus outbreak

By the time the viral firestorm had finished sweeping through the nursing home, all 63 residents were infected and at least 10 had died. Medicare moved Monday to terminate the Andbe Home from its program, cutting it off from federal dollars and imposing thousands of dollars in fines.

Government inspectors found that infected residents were separated from their healthy roommates by little more than a privacy sheet. Communal dining continued for two days. Multiple staff members failed to wear masks — even after the outbreak took hold.

In an email Tuesday to The Washington Post, the nursing home administrator disputed some of the findings outlined in the report and stood by the response to the outbreak, saying the facility had immediately quarantined infected residents and that staff wore full personal protective equipment, including goggles, masks and gloves.

“This is a terrible virus, but I am proud of how our staff has battled COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, coming to work every day under extenuating circumstances, and caring for all of our residents,” Mapes wrote. “I am also proud of and thankful for the mutual support between Andbe Home and our community during trying times for everyone.”

The Medicare report, however, said the facility’s failures had “placed all residents in immediate jeopardy by the spread of Covid-19 to all residents.”

The virus’s rampage through the nursing home came amid a surge of infections in Kansas’s Norton County, which led the nation in per capita case increases between Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 and ranked second this week, according to a Post analysis. Before Oct. 13, the county near the Nebraska border had been spared virus-related deaths.

Now, there are clusters of cases at the nursing home, where 55 of 70 staff members tested positive for the virus, as well as at a correctional facility and a bank. City offices are closed to the public, municipal court is postponed and multiple businesses have temporarily shut their doors. The funeral home has posted a wave of obituaries for people who lived at the Andbe Home: a stained glass artist with pieces displayed around town, a onetime staffer turned resident, a skilled home cook known especially for “fried chicken with all the fixins.”

Like many parts of rural America, the county of about 5,000 had resisted masks and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The city police department was cheered in June after announcing it would not enforce a mask mandate imposed by Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat.

“For months, many have mistakenly shared the idea that this virus would never reach our rural and lower-population communities,” the governor said during a news conference last week. “Now, it is worse in those towns and counties than it is in our cities.”

She called the deaths at the Andbe Home “a stark reminder” of the threat posed by the virus.

Medicare inspection reports suggest resistance to masks at the nursing home, a sprawling, single-story facility that was rated as

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Kansas sees record 7-day spikes in COVID-19 cases, deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas set new records Friday for its largest seven-day increases in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths with what its top public health official called “a generalized spread” of the COVID-19 virus.

The state has averaged more than 700 new cases a day this month, and the figure was a record 768 for the seven days ending Friday, beating the previous high mark of 757 for the seven days ending Wednesday. The state Department of Health and Environment reported 1,774 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Wednesday, an increase of 2.4% that brought the total for the pandemic to 76,230.

Dr. Lee Norman, the state health department’s head, said the generalized spread of the virus in Kansas has resulted from resistance to wearing masks in public, continuing to have mass gatherings, crowded school athletic events, and bringing students back to college and university campuses.

“This is absolutely what we’ve been predicting,” Norman said in a text to The Associated Press. “It is the natural consequence of not following the anti-contagion measures in our communities.”

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said this week that she wants to work with leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature on imposing a bipartisan, statewide mandate for people to wear masks in public. She issued such an order July 2, but state law allowed counties to opt out, and most did.


Top Republican lawmakers have argued against a “one-size-fits-all” mandate on diverse communities. But rural counties are seeing the largest numbers of new cases per 1,000 residents, and of the 20 counties with the biggest per capita spikes over the past two weeks, only two, Nemaha and Reno counties, have more than 10,000 residents.

Some Kansas elected officials have argued that a decline in the COVID-19 death rate since the start of the pandemic represents real progress as production of a widely available vaccine grows nearer. But in Kansas, where deaths represent about 1.3% of the reported cases, that figure has slowly inched up this month.

The state health department reported an additional 23 COVID-19-related deaths since Wednesday, bringing the pandemic total to 975. The state saw a record average of 16.57 new deaths a day during the seven days ending Friday, though some of that high mark can be attributed to earlier deaths being included when death certificates are reviewed by local and state health officials.

Kansas also reported another 78 coronavirus hospitalizations to bring the total to 3,584. The state averaged a record 31 new hospitalizations a day in the seven days ending Friday. The previous high mark was 29, also set earlier this month.

Kansas’ latest report comes as Missouri and perhaps a handful of other states are seeing alarming increases in hospitalizations but are unable to post accurate data on COVID-19 dashboards because of a flaw in the federal reporting system.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park has angered some residents and split local elected officials by allocating $350,000 in federal relief funds for buying cameras to

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Kansas governor calls for help with statewide mask mandate

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is again calling for a statewide mask mandate as the coronavirus case count continues to climb in rural parts of the state that don’t require them.

Kelly said Wednesday that two-thirds of the state’s COVID-19 cases are now coming from outside the Wichita and Kansas City region. Over the summer, she issued an order requiring Kansas residents to wear masks, but more than 90 counties chose to opt out. She said she now plans to speak with House and Senate leadership to work toward a bipartisan requirement with more teeth.

“We cannot sit by as the cases continue to rise in our rural communities, threatening lives and businesses,” she said.


Her announcement came after the state health department reported that Kansas had 1,488 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Monday, bringing the total number of infections reported in the state to 74,456. That pushed the rolling seven-day average for new cases to another record of 757. The department also reported 80 additional COVID-19-related deaths, most of them stemming from a review of death certificates, bringing the state’s fatality toll to 952.

According to data from The COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Kansas has risen over the past two weeks from 15% on Oct. 6 to 19.4% on Tuesday. Only four other states are faring worse.

On Monday, the health department in rural Norton County reported a coronavirus outbreak killed 10 residents in a nursing home in northwestern Kansas. It said all 62 residents and an unspecified number of employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the virus.

“For months, many have mistakenly shared the idea that this virus would never reach our rural and lower population communities. Now it is worse in those towns and counties than it is in in our cities,” she said. “Harmful anti-mask and anti-science rhetoric has politicized our ability to tackle a public health issue, much of it coming from our elected officials.”

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, said in a statement shared by a spokesman that he had not been contacted by the governor’s office to discuss a statewide mask mandate yet but is “happy to talk and discuss a mask mandate because it is better than a business shutdown, which he doesn’t want to talk about.” Denning added that he wants the discussions to include a statewide testing plan that is “crucial to dealing with the virus.”

Meanwhile, a 45-page plan that Kansas filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

Phil Griffin, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau director for disease control and prevention,

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Kansas gov. again urges statewide mask mandate

MISSION, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura is again calling for a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus infections climb in rural parts of the state that don’t require face covering.

Kelly said Wednesday that two-thirds of the state’s confirmed cases now are outside the Wichita and Kansas City region.

Over the summer, the governor issued an order requiring Kansas residents to wear masks, but more than 90 counties chose to opt out. Kelly says she plans to discuss with legislative leaders on working toward a bipartisan requirement with more teeth.

The state health department says Kansas had 1,488 new confirmed coronavirus cases since Monday, an increase of 2% that brought the total number of infections for the pandemic to 74,456. Kansas has had 952 deaths from COVID-19.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Spain reaches 1 million cases of coronavirus

— North Dakota Republican governor calls National Guard to help with test results

— CDC redefines coronavirus close contact, adds brief encounters

— Next up in hunt for COVID-19 vaccine: Testing shots in kids. Pfizer received permission last week to test its vaccine in U.S. kids as young as 12.

— Boston schools will switch to all-remote learning in response to rising coronavirus cases in the city.

— Brazil President overrules own health minister, rejecting purchase of 46 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine tested in Sao Paulo state.

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Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s lieutenant governor, who has called the state face mask order a government overstep during the pandemic, says he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said Wednesday that so far, he has no symptoms. He said he took the test earlier in the day after being notified that a member of his Sunday school group had been infected.

Ainsworth has criticized mandatory mask orders, but he personally wears one. He says that “because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk.”

Data show coronavirus virus infections appear to be rising in Alabama again weeks of improvement.

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Health officials in New Mexico have reported a single-day record of 827 newly confirmed coronavirus cases.

The increase reported Wednesday raised the state’s total of confirmed cases during the pandemic to 38,715. There have been 950 deaths linked to COVID.19.

New Mexico’s previous one-day high for new coronavirus infections was 819 reported Friday.

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BEAVER, Pa. — A large, for-profit Pennsylvania nursing home where dozens of residents died of COVID-19 has been sued over allegations that it failed to take basic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County near the Ohio border was among the hardest-hit nursing homes in the state. It had

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Kansas Vaccination Plan Prioritizes Health Care Workers | Kansas News

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first in Kansas, a draft plan shows.

Kansas’ 45-page plan was filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Kansas City Star reported. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

Phil Griffin, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau director for disease control and prevention, said the agency will use advisory committees to help determine who should receive the vaccine next. The plan indicates KDHE is taking input from groups representing individuals with disabilities, people of color, children and other demographics.

Griffin said there have been questions about whether states will receive vaccines based on the severity of the virus in their area, but no definitive answers. Kansas is being hard hit at the moment, though conditions could be significantly different months from now. Reported new cases and deaths are currently trending upward.

The state health department reported Monday that Kansas had 2,113 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Friday, an increase of 3% that brought the total number of infections reported in the state to 72,968. The department also reported 13 additional COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kansas death toll to 872.

On Monday, the health department in Norton County reported a coronavirus outbreak killed 10 residents in a nursing home in northwestern Kansas. It said all 62 residents and an unspecified number of employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the virus.

Some vaccines in development require a second dose, likely taken three weeks to a month after the first. Kansas plans to give every vaccine recipient a card with instructions when they receive their initial dose, its plan says.

The vaccine is free, but recipients or their insurance may be asked to pay a small administrative fee, likely less than $20. No one, however, will be denied a vaccine based on the ability to pay.

The logistics of storing and distributing the vaccine could prove challenging, especially if the vaccine requires ultracold storage. Griffin said a survey of about 100 Kansas hospitals showed that just 10% currently have the capacity for ultracold storage.

But Griffin said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HHS have advised Kansas “to not be focused on purchasing or expanding” ultracold storage capacity. He said vaccines requiring those conditions would be shipped directly from manufacturers in special units that can hold up to 5,000 doses.

The boxes can maintain the required temperature for up to 10 days if strict guidelines about how often they’re opened are followed, Griffin said.

“It is going to be a big lift,” Griffin said of the vaccination effort. “There’s no hesitation in saying that.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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COVID-19 Infects 62 Nursing Home Residents In Kansas, 10 Patients Die

KEY POINTS

  • 62 nursing home residents in Kansas have tested positive for COVID-19
  • 10 have died due to the virus
  • 51 are being quarantined in their rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital
  • Influx of new infections across U.S. may be what health experts believe to be “third wave” coronavirus cases

What health experts believe to be the third wave of COVID-19 cases has reached Kansas as the virus infected nearly an entire nursing home in its wake.

The Norton Country Health Department told NBC News the outbreak happened at the Andbe Home earlier this week. All 62 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, while 10 have died.

A total of 51 patients are being quarantined in their respective rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital. An “unspecified” number of staff members have also contracted the virus. Health officials said all staff members of the nursing home are being tested.

One week of new Covid-19 cases One week of new Covid-19 cases Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

“Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and not allowing outside visitors into the facility,” said Health Department, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of their situation.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that, as of early Monday, the state has 72,968 cases of COVID-19. A total of 872 deaths were reported state-wide, while 525,426 tests turned out negative.

A total of 2,113 new cases and 13 new deaths were also reported since Friday.

The grim increase of new COVID-19 cases that is sweeping across the United States and some countries in Europe is what experts claim to be the third – and possibly largest – outbreak of the virus. Business Insider wrote in an article over the weekend that the U.S. saw an average of more than 50,000 cases per day, with the country’s seven-day average of new cases have skyrocketed to about 25% since the beginning of the month.

“We’re clearly in the third wave if we’re looking at the true overall case counts in the country, realizing that our baseline has gotten higher and higher,” Columbia University emergency medicine physician Dr. Dara Kass told Yahoo. “So, as we head into this third wave over the country, we’re still now 40,000 to 50,000 cases a day.”

While reasons for the sudden rise of infections range from other states slowly loosening lockdown and stay-at-home guidelines and reopening of businesses and schools, Vanderbilt University epidemiologist Dr. William Schaffner also sees the country’s current plight will be made complicated this winter.

“During the summer, people went indoors for air conditioning, but they did spend more of their time outdoors. Nonetheless, it spread as people become lax in their attention to social distancing and mask-wearing. As far as I can tell, that’s growing,” Schaffner told CNBC.

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Are Nursing Homes Safe Now? Kansas Facility Sees All Residents Test Positive For COVID-19

A Kansas nursing home has seen all 62 of its residents test positive for COVID-19 along with an unspecified number of staff members.

The coronavirus outbreak at the Norton County, Kansas-based Andbe Home nursing home resulted in the death of 10 residents and one hospitalization, with the remaining patients being treated at the facility, the Norton County Health Department confirmed on Monday night.

The health department said in a statement that the residents were being quarantined in their rooms and were not being allowed outside visitors.

Kansas has reported an average of more than 700 new positive cases of the coronavirus and probable cases of the virus a day – the largest reporting since early March, CBS News reported.

With the risk of contracting the coronavirus higher in elderly adults, many nursing homes are seeing cases spike as the pandemic continues to wage on. At the height of the outbreak at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, was an epicenter for the virus, with nearly two-thirds of its residents testing positive for the virus, KIRO, a Fox affiliate out of Seattle reported. At least 37 people died at the nursing home from the outbreak.

Just this week, a Rensselaer County nursing home in Texas reported that 10 residents tested positive for the virus, with 14 staff members also confirmed to have COVID-19, the Houston Chronicle reported.

A study in the journal JAMA indicated that while the coronavirus has a fatality rate of 1% to 2% overall, but in older patients in China, it was as high as 8% to 15%. The rapid spread of the coronavirus can make elderly adults more susceptible to the virus, which can cause more severe complications, NPR reported.

The news outlet also said that because elderly people have a reduced immune response, they become more vulnerable to spreading viruses such as the coronavirus. This becomes further complicated at nursing homes that are short-staffed and have personal protective equipment shortages, AARP said.

The U.S. has reported over 8.2 million positive cases of the coronavirus, with over 220,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Health workers -- from cleaning crews to doctors, in hospitals and nursing homes -- have been hit hard by the pandemic Health workers — from cleaning crews to doctors, in hospitals and nursing homes — have been hit hard by the pandemic Photo: AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF

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Every resident of Kansas nursing home infected with COVID-19

Every resident of a Kansas nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 residents have died, according to area health officials. 

The Norton County Health Department confirmed on Monday that all 62 residents of the Andbe Home, a privately owned facility, tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 62 individuals, 10 have died, one is hospitalized and the others are being cared for at the facility. 

The department also confirmed that “some” staff members at the nursing home in Norton have tested positive for the virus, and others are being tested.

“Norton County Health Department has been working with the Andbe Home, Norton County Hospital and [the Kansas Department of Health and Environment] regarding this outbreak. Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and now allowing outside visitors into the facility,” department officials said in a Monday statement, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of the outbreak. 

PRESS RELEASE

Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020

The department did not reveal how many residents are experiencing symptoms of the disease.

There have been over 250,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in nursing homes across the country, according to federal data, as well as over 143,000 suspected cases and over 59,000 fatalities.

Kansas has reported 74,616 cases of COVID-19 and 872 related deaths. Cases across the state have continued to spike since the summer, and at least 13 new coronavirus deaths and 1,894 cases were reported on Monday.

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All 62 residents at Kansas nursing home have COVID, 10 have died

Topeka, Kansas — A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in a Kansas nursing home, and the local health department said every one of the residents had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, along with an unspecified number of staff. The affected home is in northwest Kansas’ Norton County, which has seen one of the largest proportional increases in confirmed coronavirus cases over two weeks in the country.
 
The Norton County health department confirmed Monday night that all 62 residents and some employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The agency also said one Andbe Home resident was hospitalized, while the remaining 51 were being treated at the home. 

PRESS RELEASE

Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020

It was not clear how many were experiencing symptoms of the disease, which is known to hit the elderly hardest.
 
The local health department said residents were being quarantined in their rooms and the home was not allowing outside visitors.
 
The outbreak at the nursing home came after the state Department of Health and Environment last week reported more than 100 cases at the state’s prison in Norton over the two weeks ending Wednesday.

andbe-home-norton-kansas-covid.jpg
A screenshot from Google’s Street View shows the Andbe Home nursing and care home in Norton County, Kansas. 

Google


Kansas is seeing an average of more than 700 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day, its largest numbers since early March.

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