United Helpers CEO discusses COVID’s toll on nursing home residents, staff

WWNY United Helpers CEO discusses COVID’s toll on nursing home residents, staff

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care facility in Ogdensburg reported Friday that another 2 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number to 120. To date, 13 residents have died from the coronavirus.

United Helpers CEO Stephen Knight, who appeared on 7 News at Noon on Friday, said many of the residents who passed away were at “end of life.”

“But, there’s no doubt that COVID has played a part in several of the deaths or complicated other health complications that already existed,” he said.

Knight also said there’s a possibility that the outbreak at the facility may have been influenced by a November 15 fire at a garage at the nursing home, which prompted the evacuation of residents.

“I don’t think we’ll ever know,” he said. “There is at least some evidence that maybe that event helped maybe accelerate things that might have already been in the works. We’ll never know for sure. I’m sure it didn’t help.”

Knight said staff who take care of the residents have been deeply affected by the losses.

“Our employees have just been nothing short of heroic in this terrible, catastrophic situation,” he said.

Since November 22, 67 workers at the facility have tested positive for the virus. The United Helpers nursing home in Ogdensburg isn’t the only one with a COVID-19 outbreak. The United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care in Canton has also been experiencing an outbreak with 11 residents and 7 staff testing positive for the coronavirus.

Just recently, United Helpers put out a request to the public for help, saying it needs employees for almost every job, personal protective gear and meals for workers and their families.

Knight said there has been a positive response from the community, but is still welcoming assistance.

If you’d like to help, click here.

You can watch Knight’s full interview with anchor Diane Rutherford above.

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