Chemung County Responds After First COVID-19 Case In Nursing Home

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CORNING, NY (WSKG) – On Sunday, the Chemung County Nursing Facility in Elmira reported its first COVID-19 case. A staff member at the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19.

Chemung County Nursing Facility (Natalie Abruzzo/WSKG)

The staff member, who is not a nurse, told her supervisor of symptoms consistent with the virus on Friday. She was immediately sent home, told to schedule a test and self quarantine until the test results were available.

According to Peter Buzzetti, Chemung County Health Department Public Health Director, the nursing facility staff member who tested positive is now under mandatory quarantine orders.

The nursing home has been working this week to get necessary testing to its staff and residents.

“We have a positive case. So, the goal is to not let that go to two positive cases or more,” said Michal Youmans, Chemung County Nursing Facility Administrator. “So, our hope is by testing and being aggressive and proactive, as we’ve continued to be throughout this entire process, we hope to really kind of stop any potential outbreak in its tracks.”

Youmans said staff have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, reusable gowns, disposable gowns, surgical masks, N95 masks and face shields. They are required to use masks and face shields when interacting with others in the facility.

Residents have also been given masks to use at their discretion.

The facility’s burn rate of surgical masks is between 1,400 and 1,800 per week. Youmans said there is “a significant stockpile” of the other PPE but would not provide specific numbers.

As of Wednesday, Chemung County has conducted over 1,400 tests with 99 confirmed cases and one death from COVID-19.

Neighboring Steuben County has conducted over 1,800 tests with 227 positive cases and 37 deaths, mainly in its nursing homes.

Other neighboring counties include Tompkins with 130 positive cases, and Schuyler with nine positive cases. Both counties have had zero resident deaths.