Food processing and long-term care facilities driving Salem-area Covid outbreaks

The Marion County Health and Human Services headquarters in Salem (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Long-term care facilities and food processing plants continue to drive known Covid outbreaks in the Salem area, according to the Oregon Health Authority’s latest report.

Marion County has now reported 1,697 people sick with the virus since early March, with 51 deaths. Polk County has 168 cases and 12 deaths.

Brookstone Alzheimer’s Special Care Center on 5881 Woodside Dr. S.E. has seen three more people die in the last week, bringing the death toll from the virus to 11 people.

The facility also reported one additional case in the last week, with 65 cases total. The report does not specify how many cases are among residents and how many are employees.

The facility, which is licensed for 57 beds, has the largest active outbreak at a care facility in Salem and the second-largest in Oregon. Locally, it’s also tied for the deadliest outbreak. Eleven residents died at Prestige Senior Living Orchard Heights in west Salem during an outbreak which has since been resolved.

Brookstone was cited last week for failing to follow infection control recommendations made by Oregon’s Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority.

Brookstone administrator Brandy Khlystov said the care center voluntarily stopped admitting patients prior to the executive order. 

“Our universal precautions protocols, including infection control programs, are designed using the industry’s best practices to ensure that our residents and our staff are protected, and our procedures exceed the recommendations set forth by local and state health departments as well as the CDC,” Khlystov said in an email last week. 

Khlystov couldn’t be reached for comment about the recent deaths Wednesday afternoon. 

Four other area senior facilities have active outbreaks. 

Boone Ridge Senior Living had three additional cases in the last week, bringing its total to 6. The Springs at Willow Creek reported four additional cases bringing the total to 22. Both facilities are in Salem.

Avamere Court at Keizer has two cases and Hidden Lakes Independent Living in Salem has three cases.

Seven workplaces in Marion County have reported active outbreaks. Polk County has no active workplace outbreaks reported.

Truitt Bros. on 556 Murlark Ave. in west Salem reported five cases in the last week. The cannery reported its first case on June 26. 

BrucePac, a meat processor in Silverton, reported two additional cases after it had been listed under “resolved” workplace outbreaks in the OHA report last week.

An outbreak is considered resolved if no new cases surface in the 28 days after the most recent person began showing symptoms, health authority spokesman Tim Heider said. But outbreaks can become active again if someone delays seeking care or testing or has only mild symptoms initially, delaying reporting, he said.

BrucePac reported its first case on May 11 and now has 10 cases.

The Amazon fulfillment center in Salem reported one additional case in the last week bringing its total to 11. 

Salem Hospital and Norpac didn’t report any additional cases in the last week and remain at 17 and 15, respectively. 

The Oregon State Penitentiary continues to lead in workplace outbreaks across the state with 183 cases reported, unchanged from the week prior. 

MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn has a new outbreak of five cases after a previous outbreak in May, with eight cases, had resolved.