Manchester Twp. nursing home admits resident after COVID-19 diagnosis

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

A SpiriTrust Lutheran nursing home location in Manchester Township on Wednesday admitted a resident who had tested positive for COVID-19, a move that unnerved at least one relative of resident at the facility. 

The resident, who initially was at a SpiriTrust location in Franklin County, was released from a York-area hospital and was placed in a "cohort" area at the Village at Sprenkle Drive location in Manchester Township, said Crystal Hull, a spokeswoman for SpiriTrust.

SpiriTrust Lutheran assisted living location in Manchester Township Friday, May 1, 2020. The facility admitted a resident who had testedÊpositive for COVID-19. Bill Kalina photo

Hull declined to say from which hospital the patent was released.

"This area is separated from the rest of the community," Hull said. "There is a sealed barrier. This is an area away from any other residents and any other team members, and the care is being provided by a team of caregivers who are assigned only to work in that area."

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Nursing homes and similar facilities have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, namely because the elderly and people with preexisting conditions are at higher risk of severe complications.

As of Sunday, there were 10 residents and employees in four York County nursing homes and long-term care facilities who have tested positive for the virus, a slim percentage of the county's 679 cases. There has been one coronavirus-related death at those facilities.

Statewide figures, however, tell a much different story.

Roughly 20% of all confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania involve residents and employees from 492 different nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

SpiriTrust Lutheran Village at Sprenkle Drive in Manchester Township Friday, May 1, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

As of Sunday, 1,635 — or about 67% — of the state's 2,444 deaths linked to the coronavirus have occurred in a nursing homes or long-term care facilities, according to the state Department of Health.

The state, although under pressure from advocacy groups, has refused to disclose the names of nursing home where residents have tested positive.

Some other states, such as Kentucky and Minnesota, have opted to identify specific nursing homes where outbreak occurred, Spotlight PA has reported.

Hull declined comment Thursday when asked if SpiriTrust had concerns about an outbreak at the nursing home in Manchester Township. 

Kelly Skiptunas — whose 89-year-old mother lives a SpiriTrust facility and suffers from dementia — said she was shocked and afraid after she was notified that the facility had admitted a patient with COVID-19.

“I’m scared to death now for my mother. Now here they are bringing a COVID-positive patient into a previously COVID-free environment," said Skiptunas. "This is just unbelievable."

One issue that has come up, Skiptunas said, is that York County doesn't have any places for the elderly to stay if they test positive for COVID-19.

That leaves facilities such as SpiriTrust to use cohort areas for that purpose, which are barred off from the rest of the resident population at the nursing home, Hull said.

The nurses that tend to the resident are screened twice each day and do not come into contact with any other residents.

They also have personal protective equipment and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hull said.

On SpiriTrust's website, the company lists a wide variety of measures it has taken to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

Those include prohibiting visitors, turning away unnecessary packages, the closing of areas where residents may gather and increasing the use of personal protective equipment.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.