Outbreaks of COVID-19 have affected three nursing homes in Ontario County; Ontario Center in Hopewell reports it's COVID-free

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HOPEWELL — The Ontario Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing reported Monday being COVID-free at its facility in Hopewell.

An outbreak began in early April at the 98-bed nursing home, when two residents tested positive for the virus that spread to multiple residents and staff. Eleven residents of that nursing home have died of COVID-19.

“At Ontario Center, this milestone zero figure comes bittersweet because of the sadness of the eleven residents who passed due to COVID-19, people and their families who were once and still are considered family to the staff,” Jeffrey Jacomowitz, director  of Corporate Communications for Centers Health Care, stated in a release.

According to Jacomowitz, 34 residents and 7 staff at the Hopewell facility have recovered from COVID-19. He also reported no current COVID-19 cases at the company’s Creekview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, where three residents died due to the virus. There, 68 residents and 11 staff had recovered.

“Even though the zero figure is now a milestone, there is no letting up with the continuation of facility-wide testing and diligent screening of staff,” stated Jacomowitz.

“This pandemic has changed our lives forever here at Ontario Center,” the facility’s Administrator Rebecca Butler said in the release. “There’s not a day that goes by when we don’t think about who we have lost to this terrible virus.  Being cautiously optimistic, we will all celebrate when a vaccine is found but right now, we are blessed for those who have recovered.  The staff have all worked hard to make that happen, but our hearts go out to the families who lost their loved ones. They are our family too.”

As of Monday, the number of deaths in Ontario County from confirmed cases of COVID-19 remained at 30. All but one of those who died had been a resident of either the Ontario Center or Elm Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation home in Canandaigua — 11 deaths were Ontario Center residents, and 18 who died had lived at Elm Manor.

Elm Manor, a 48-bed facility, had 40 residents when the outbreak began there in mid-May. Since then, 33 residents and 35 staff have tested positive for the virus, based on Elm Manor’s update June 13. In a report last week to a committee of the Board of Supervisors, Ontario County Public Health Director Mary Beer mentioned the impact of the outbreak at Elm Manor, saying it has devastated the staff there, especially being a smaller facility with a strong sense of family.

Ontario County Public Health has also investigated a COVID-19 outbreak first reported in early June, at Rochester Regional Health’s Clifton Springs Nursing Home. Public Health first reported that eight residents and one employee there had tested positive for the virus, with more testing underway at the facility in Clifton Springs.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker last week announced that aggressive testing of patients and staff at nursing homes statewide was showing results. “Infection rates are decreasing across New York State, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” stated Zucker, who recommended that nursing homes continue weekly testing to protect residents and the staff.

Beer said last week all the nursing homes in the county were in compliance with New York State Department of Health COVID testing requirements.