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Pawtucket nursing home has 6 residents with COVID-19

Coronavirus

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket nursing home has six cases of the coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed Sunday.

Jeff Jacomowitz, the spokesperson for The Oak Hill Center, said six residents at the home have tested positive for the virus.

“Upon feeling sick, each resident was immediately placed into isolation at the facility,” Jacomowitz wrote in an email. “Each were tested with swabs by the Department of Health and the medical director at the facility, confirming they each had the virus.”

He said in addition to the six residents, 27 others in the same unit have been placed in “protective isolation.”

He said fewer than ten nurses had contact with the residents.

“All our nurses have been wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) since early March, as instructed by the Rhode Island Department of Health per CDC guidelines so the risk of exposure is minimal,” Jacomowitz said. “Oak Hill Center continues to follow the state and federal guidelines with PPE use and all staff are being screened and continuously monitored for symptoms throughout the day.”

“The safety of our residents and staff are first and foremost our number one priority,” Jacomowitz added.

The news from the nursing home comes shortly after Gov. Gina Raimondo and health officials said at their daily briefing on Sunday that three nursing homes in Rhode Island have cases of the coronavirus. They did not disclose which nursing homes were affected or how many cases there are.

Dr. James McDonald said the Department of Health is working with the homes.

“We are encouraging nursing homes, when they have a new resident come in, to quarantine that person for 14 days,” McDonald said. “Keep in mind, quarantine means someone who is not symptomatic.”

Dr. McDonald did not elaborate on the nursing home cases or say how many people were infected, and reporters are not allowed in the room for the briefing to ask follow-up questions. In an email, a spokesperson said he did not have further information about the cases.

“We’re obviously very concerned about nursing homes,” McDonald added. “That’s the high risk population so we’re very concerned about this.”

Raimondo ordered limited visitation at nursing homes on March 9 amid the concerns about the virus, and banned all visitation at the homes on March 13.

March 13 was also the day the Department of Health announced the first case of a person with COVID-19 at a nursing home. Health officials did not disclose the name of the nursing home at the time.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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