One third of reported coronavirus deaths in Utah so far were patients at nursing homes

coronavirus at pine creek rehab and nursing (4).PNG
One third of reported coronavirus deaths in Utah so far were patients at nursing homes (Photo: KUTV)

There have now been 13 reported deaths from coronavirus in Utah, and four of those were patients at nursing facilities.

One facility in Salt Lake City — Pine Creek Rehab and Nursing — has seen 23 cases of the virus, with two people dying.

Pine Creek will now become a coronavirus-only facility and will be operated by the Utah Department of Health, which plans to collaborate with staff there.

“We have a team here of healthcare-associated infection specialists, and we work collaboratively with the local health departments on all these outbreaks, COVID-19 related and not," said state epidemiologist Angela Dunn. "It’s a collaborative process bringing experts from the local and the state health departments together to identify and prevent as much disease as possible.”

The 10 residents who did not have the virus were transferred to a "sister facility," Dunn said. They're staying in a separate wing and are cared for be dedicated staff.

A Pine Creek representative told 2News they've been working "tirelessly" to keep residents and staff safe. They're trying to stay upbeat and face the challenge with courage, but it's been difficult to see the patients they love contract the virus.

All staff at the facility will wear personal protection equipment, no matter their role. Those who have close contact with patients will wear full protective gear, the representative told 2News.

Friends of Pine Creek are stepping up to offer care and support. Some offered child care for staff members who have families, and others have given meals. Community members even offered RVs and apartments where staff members can stay so they don't pass the virus on to their family members at home.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told 2News it suspended routine inspections of facilities and is now targeting inspections in areas where the virus is projected to hit hardest.