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Four COVID-19 cases confirmed at Buckley HealthCare Center in Greenfield

  • Buckley HealthCare Center on Laurel Street in Greenfield, as seen in June 2018. STAFF File PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/20/2020 9:07:58 PM

GREENFIELD — Four residents at Buckley HealthCare Center tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement released Friday by the Laurel Street care center. The cases were confirmed by health authorities Thursday.

“Rest assured, we have been preparing for this contingency for the last several weeks, and I am confident in our ability to respond quickly and comprehensively to ensure the health and safety of our residents, patients and partners,” said Allison Burwin, regional vice president of the Northeastern region for National HealthCare Corporation, the Greenfield center’s parent company.

Buckley HealthCare Center, which has 120 beds, provides 24-hour long-term nursing care for elders and short-term rehabilitation services for “post-acute” patients, according to its website.

Earlier in the day at a press conference about the city’s response to the health crisis, Greenfield Roxann Wedegartner said there were “confirmed cases” at a “nursing facility,” but would not elaborate further. She said the city is following the state’s public health guidelines “during this time of the escalating health emergency, and the city’s emergency management staff is maintaining the confidentiality of those in the community who are suspected or presumed to have COVID-19.”

In a statement posted to the Greenfield Police Department’s Facebook page Friday night, Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. noted the challenges frontline health care workers and first responders will face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I first want to acknowledge that this is only the beginning in what will seem like an eternity. I want to thank all the first responders who will for the unforeseeable future be on unknown schedules, dealing with changing protocols, and being there to respond to any and all who need assistance. I also wish to thank the public who are supporting the efforts that are being asked of you, even though the life altering circumstances will be challenging for many,” he said. “This is our job, and is what we get paid to do. This is what we have been called to do. It is an honor and a privilege to serve our community this way, in what will be an overwhelming time of need.”

Before it was confirmed the four residents at Buckley HealthCare Center had the virus, Burwin said the facility “took steps to isolate the infected patients when symptoms occurred to prevent additional exposure.”

“I recognize that the uncertainty around COVID-19, and now confirmed cases within the center, may cause concern among our patients, partners and family members,” Burwin said, “but rest assured good people are working without pause to provide guidance and resources, share the latest information and make decisions with a single end in mind — safeguarding the health and well-being of everyone concerned.”

The general strategies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of coronavirus inside a long-term care facility “are the same strategies these facilities use every day to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like influenza,” according to the agency’s prevention guidelines. Those include restricting visitation, canceling communal dining, making personal protective equipment such as masks readily available and cleaning well, among other precautions.

The agency notes, “nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19.” For those who have the virus, however, “hospitalization is not medically necessary. Home care is preferable if the individual’s situation allows.”

Buckley HealthCare Center declined to comment when reached by phone Friday evening. This story is breaking and more information will be reported when it becomes available.

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 276.


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