COVID-19 claims four lives at assisted-living facility – The Star Press

MUNCIE, Ind. — After weeks of no coronavirus deaths in the local senior housing industry, four residents of an assisted-living facility have died from the infectious disease.

In all now, 80%, or 47 of Delaware County’s 59 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths have occurred at nursing homes or assisted living housing, according to Donna Wilkins, county health officer. That percentage trend has held steady for months as total deaths added up.

The most recent fatalities included four residents of Lynd Place, an assisted-living community in a wooded setting on McGalliard Road on the east edge of Muncie.

“Our deepest sympathies and shared grief are with the families and all who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Louis Kievit, a vice president in Chicago of Lynd Place owner Enlivant.

“We recognized the threat that COVID-19 posed to our communities and began planning in January 2020,” Kievet said in an email. “In March, we implemented our COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety and health of our residents and employees.”

Those measures include visitor restrictions, which began to relax at some local nursing homes in recent weeks, and partnering with and following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health departments, in addition to communicating about the situation with residents, their families and “our dedicated team of caregivers who are working tirelessly to provide quality, supportive care each day,” Kievit went on.

Enlivant operates senior living communities across 27 states.

“It is important to note that only seven out of the 17 facilities in Delaware county have reported deaths, and we hope you’d include this data point in your story so as to paint an accurate picture of the COVID-19 status in Delaware county,” said Deeksha Kapoor, spokesman for the trade groups Indiana Health Care Association and the Indiana Center for Assisted Living.

Of the seven facilities that have reported deaths, three have been hardest hit: Yorktown Manor (17), Liberty Village (12) and Signature HealthCARE (9).

Waters Edge Village and Elmcroft also have lost residents to the disease.

“The deaths that have occurred due to COVID-19 are tragic, but because of the selfless hard work and dedication of our caregivers, so many residents who tested positive are beating the odds and making a full recovery, and we hope this trend continues,” Kapoor said in an email.

Last month, during a break in local nursing home deaths, Yorktown Manor’s legal counsel, Bill Edwards, told The Star Press:

“This pandemic is not over. Since July 4th and the reopening of visitation, there has been a spike in outbreaks of COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities. For our facility, Yorktown Manor, we continue to be aggressive with our infection control measures.”

He went on: “We have already seen what this pandemic can do to our most vulnerable, and we are very much aware we could suffer a second outbreak at our facility.  Every member of the general public should continue wearing masks — covering both their mouths and noses — follow hand-washing guidelines and continue social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

► COVID deaths came to a standstill at 51

► Local nursing home deaths halt, but ‘this isn’t over’

 Contact Seth Slabaugh at 765 213-5834 or seths@muncie.gannett.com

Published 12:01 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020