JAMAICA PLAIN, MA – The Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ANRC) informed that on April 6 it experienced its first fatality due to the coronavirus.
A food service employee fell sick with COVID-19 at the end of March, tested positive on April 1, and is now in quarantine. While no residents had fevers or any symptoms on March 30, on April 3, eight residents with fevers and respiratory symptoms had to be moved into an isolation section of the center.
Stewart Goff, chief executive officer of the center, wrote in an April 3 report, “Our primary goal is to remain as COVID-19 free as possible. We still do not accept active COVID-19 referrals from the acute care hospitals. However, we have long understood that it is unlikely we can remain virus free.”
Consequently, the special second floor isolation suite was created as a precaution on March 30. Tests for COVID-19 were requested from the Massachusetts National Guard, which has been mobilized for this purpose. Goff stated that they were successfully drawn on April 3 at about 5 p.m. The results were expected back within 24 to 48 hours but only arrived on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 7. Of nine tests, six were positive, two negative, and the results from the final one were still awaited. The April 6 fatality was among those with positive results.
The isolation unit was then expanded to 20 beds, and will expand or contract depending on circumstances. In order to lower the risk of infection, a separate staffing team has been created to deal only with patients there, and is being paid a premium for its work.
As background context, prior to the pandemic, the ANRC would typically experience between 2-7 deaths per month.