Victoria Manor Long Term Care Crisis North Cape May
For many of us, we had a Happy Easter. I hope it was for my readers and their families. More than a half dozen families in our area had a different kind of Easter.
Six families have lost loved ones this week at the Victoria Manor long term care facility in North Cape May to coronavirus or complications attributed to COVID-19
Victoria Manor long term care facility is a 120-bed facility. Many families in the area house aging relatives or those seeing physical rehabilitation, at the manor.
According to officials, 110 of the state’s 375 longterm care facilities have at least one positive coronavirus patient. The numbers in North Cape May (Lower Township) are climbing. By April 10th the state’s number was 118.
There are now seven (reported) total deaths related to COVID-19 reported in Cape May County including a 73-year-old male from Dennis Township, an 80-year-old male and a 75-year-old female both who were residents of Victoria Manor.
In an earlier press release, the County health department wanted to sound reassuring. “Public Health has been preparing for the possibility of outbreaks happening in skilled nursing facilities and other congregate care settings, and we have provided clear guidance for facilities in responding and controlling the spread of illness,” said Mary Tighe, assistant director of public health nursing.
But it was after the initial outbreak that the county delivered 400 surgical masks and 200 gowns. Despite this, the numbers began to grow. Initially, family members did not know which patients were tested.
Communication and crisis management
Staff initiated daily status email updates to those with family members living or patients at the facility. Family conferences were held via Zoom.
Dr. Richard Feifer, Chief Medical Officer issued a statement: “Fortunately, we’ve been able to maintain an adequate supply of PPE – standard face masks, gowns, gloves, and N95 respirators – by shifting supplies among our facilities and resourceful sourcing.”
“We have been working closely with the Cape May County Department of Health and New Jersey State Health Department to contain the spread of this disease by strictly following infectious disease guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” company officials said.
New Jersey is the second leading state in the United States with 58,151 total COVID-19 cases and 2,183 deaths as of April 11th. According to a report by NBCNEWS.com, it is unclear if nursing home numbers count toward the federal tally of coronavirus cases.
“Nursing home residents are among those most likely to die from the coronavirus, given their advanced age and the prevalence of other health conditions,” the report stated.
It’s not their fault
When news of the outbreak at Victoria Manor long term care started, I was upset. At least two friends have loved ones there. I shared their concern. They were our neighbors.
My research on testing models confirmed that sporadic testing was the norm in nursing homes. Proving a resident negative today doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be positive tomorrow. And then there is the availability of tests. Thankfully Cape Regional Urgent Cares announced the ability to test anyone who fit the guidelines.
To keep the Cape May bubble inflated, city officials have taken extraordinary measures to stop the spread. No beach. No promenade.
Short term rentals are banned until May 22nd.
My biggest fear to date: an outbreak at Victorian Towers has not happened, thank God. At Victoria Manor long term care, 20 staff and 17 residents are positive as of this weekend, with some of them, hospitalized.
To that end, let us hope this ends sooner than later.