NEW ORLEANS — The number of nursing home clusters of coronavirus cases shot up over the weekend from six to 28.
Ten of those are in New Orleans, including the hard hit Lambeth House, where 11 residents have died of the disease. Seven of the nursing homes are in Jefferson Parish, while six others are scattered in parishes in the metro area.
The Louisiana Department of Health identifies a cluster as a location with two or more positive cases that appear to be connected.
One of the earliest clusters to be identified after the Lambeth House was at the Chateau de Notre Dame operated by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Last week, three positive cases were identified, although the state did not disclose if the patients were residents or employees.
In response to the Notre Dame cases, the facility went on lockdown, even prohibiting family members from visiting their loved ones, even patients in hospice.
But for Chateau de Notre Dame and two other nursing homes operated by the Archdiocese, there is some relief on the way.
The Archdiocese health care provider, Notre Dame Health Systems, has constructed a stand-alone isolation unit at its Wynhoven Home in Marrero.
Any resident who tests positive or shows symptoms will be transferred to the new wing, possibly as early at Tuesday when it is set to open.
The unit will operated by a separate staff and will contain eight beds, which could be expanded to 10 beds if needed. The wing will allow Covid-19 patients to remain completely quarantined from other residents.
“We made the decision last week to open this isolation unit to help alleviate some of the overwhelming burden on the hospitals in the New Orleans area,” says Notre Dame Health System President and CEO Wayne Plaisance. “No one was prepared for this crisis, but we responded by making the investment into refurbishing this facility to care for our residents. Like many in the healthcare profession, we are in need of personal protection equipment (PPE), medical and cleaning supplies, to sufficiently operate the unit for the long-term.”
To help equip the new unit, the health system states it will accept donations of “surgical gloves, gowns, surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes. Anyone wanting to make a donation can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a pickup or drop off.”