Woodburn assisted living facility sees Covid cases climb

An image of the coronavirus from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of staff and residents infected with Covid at a Woodburn assisted living facility continues to rise and now has the highest number of cases of any congregate living setting in Oregon outside of prisons. 

There are now 92 cases of Covid at French Prairie Nursing and Rehab, located at 601 Evergreen Rd., according to the most recent report on workplace and congregate care facility outbreaks from the Oregon Health Authority released Wednesday. The facility has 80 licensed beds and is operated by Salt Lake City, Utah-based Avalon Health Care Group.

The facility first reported a case of the virus on Aug. 5. It has now recorded 10 deaths, according to the state report, which does not distinguish between employees and residents.

Karla Hunt, French Prairie Nursing and Rehab administrator, referred questions from Salem Reporter to a letter it posted Monday to its website. That letter says nine resident who tested positive for Covid have died

“Despite our best efforts to prevent COVID-19 from being introduced into our facility, we can confirm that we have had a total of 45 residents test positive for the virus,” reads the letter. “Of those residents, two are currently being cared for at the facility on the facility’s COVID unit, five are being cared for in the hospital, five are being cared for at a skilled nursing facility that cares for COVID-19 residents, and 24 have recovered.”

The letter described steps French Prairie Nursing and Rehab is taking to manage the outbreak. The facility is following guidance and directives from federal, state and local health authorities. The Covid unit at the facility is separated with a physical barrier and has dedicated staffing. 

Those entering the building are screened for symptoms and only essential visitors and essential vendors are allowed in. A total of 33 staff members at French Prairie Nursing and Rehab have tested positive, 23 of whom have recovered, according to the letter. 

“We are working diligently to limit the spread of the virus to other residents of the facility and are communicating this news to our residents, staff, and their loved ones,” said the letter.

The pandemic has posed a particular threat to assisted-living facilities, whose residents are at heightened risk of having a severe reaction to the virus. 

In June, the Oregon Health Authority announced it would increase testing for the virus at facilities and report outbreaks. According to the most recent report, there have been a total of 625 cases at nursing and assisted living facilities and 44 deaths. 

The agency did not immediately respond to an email Wednesday afternoon seeking comment on how it was handling the outbreak.

The number of cases at French Prairie Nursing and Rehab rose from the 85 recorded last week. The facility reported one additional death. 

 Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.

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