Two more residents at Marquis Hope Village Post-Acute Rehab, who were positive for COVID-19, died over the weekend, bringing the number of virus-related deaths at the facility to four.
"When our residents come to us for care, they are in a medically fragile state," said April Diaz, vice president of clinical services for Marquis. "Many have chronic conditions that put them at high risk for their health to rapidly change. Sadly, when they are infected with the coronavirus, because of the nature of the infection, they often don't have the strength to fight it."
To date, 33 of the 38 residents at the rehab facility have tested positive for the virus, along with 36 staff members, for a total of 69 cases.
The residents' symptoms range from asymptomatic to critical, according to Diaz.
"We cannot begin to communicate the sense of anguish we are all feeling," Diaz said. "The mission now at hand is to contain the outbreak, to nurse our infected residents back to health and to support all of our staff members' health."
It remains unclear, according to Diaz, exactly how COVID-19 made its way into the rehab facility.
Marquis has notified Clackamas County Health and Oregon Department of Human Services of all positive cases and are working with those agencies on contact tracing. Diaz said Marquis has not received a timeline on when the agencies' findings will be available.
"They have let us know that in an environment with such massive asymptomatic spread, definitively identifying the specific source could prove extremely challenging," Diaz said.
Diaz did reveal that despite screening and monitoring of staff and residents, the virus spread through asymptomatic staff and then residents who did not know they were infected.
"Fully 40% of those who test positive for COVID-19 show few, if any, symptoms for several days before becoming sick," Diaz said. "So, it stands to reason that the more cases there are in a close-knit local community, the more potential carriers there will be without symptoms. That means the virus can gain a wide foothold long before its presence is even detectable, as happened at the Hope Village Post-Acute Rehab facility."
Diaz added, "Research by leading health experts has proven that a facility's location is the primary determining factor, and what matters most is the rate of infection in the state and community around it. So even a top tier, highly rated facility, like Marquis Hope Village, can't necessarily prevent a virus like this when it is rampant in the surrounding community."
Prior to the outbreak at Marquis Hope Village, there were 35 cases of COVID-19 attributed to Canby's zip code, the second most total cases behind Milwaukie and the second highest per capita behind Molalla.
The first indicator of a possible COVID-19 infection at the rehab facility was on May 31, when a staff member reported not feeling well and was placed on leave pending a test.
The first resident showed symptoms on June 4, with a low-grade temperature as the only indicator, according to Diaz. That same day, the staff member's test came back positive.
At that point, Marquis immediately began "a comprehensive and aggressive testing program for all residents and staff" in both the rehab facility and the assisted living facilities, Diaz said.
All residents at the assisted living facility have tested negative for the virus. Assisted living staff members were tested Thursday, June 11, with results expected Monday, June 15.
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