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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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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 casesPhoto: 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.
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 pandemicPhoto: AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kansas is seeing an average of more than 700 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day, its largest numbers since early March.