Spokane Veterans Home ramps up safety efforts to prevent COVID-19 spread

SPOKANE, Wash. – Nursing homes have been hit hard in this pandemic, including one here in Spokane.

So far, 36 residents and 16 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at the Spokane Veterans Home. Because of that, the VA Medical Center has come up with a plan to stop the virus from spreading even more.

READ: Another resident tests positive at Spokane Veterans Home 

Their first step — separating those who tested positive from those who are negative. As of right now, 29 people from the Spokane Veterans Home have been transferred to the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

Another resident is expected to be transferred to the COVID unit sometime Wednesday, and five others are getting treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The VA Hospital has also ramped up the number of staff caring for COVID-19 patients. On a given shift, there are typically 2 to 3 providers on the floor, along with 12 nurses.

We’re told many of these patients are seniors suffering from pre-existing conditions.

“We all know that long term care residents are at significant risk for morbidity and death. If we look at the King County experience, their nursing home suffered roughly 27% mortality and over 50% were hospitalized,” said Dr. Robert Fischer, Director of the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

That doesn’t mean they’re all in critical condition. Dr. Fischer said transferring many of those patients was more of a safety precaution.

“We felt that a heightened degree of care might improve the outcome for these patients. Knock on wood, these patients do not seem to be suffering from the COVID disease, despite the number of patients we’re currently caring for,” said Fischer.

Dr. Fischer said they still don’t know what caused the outbreak, but that treating patients is their main priority.

Each of them will have to test negative for the virus twice, before returning to the Spokane Veterans Home.

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