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Samaritan Keep Home sees record number of COVID cases

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A COVID-19 outbreak at Watertown’s Samaritan Keep Home has that facility seeing its highest number of cases since the pandemic began.

Samaritan Keep Home is up to 32 positive cases between residents and staff. Samaritan Summit Village has seen an uptick too. Both facilities have paused visitation.

“Here we are dealing with more cases than ever,” said Leslie DiStefano, Samaritan marketing director.

She says that’s after not having a positive case since February. The latest numbers - 24 residents and 8 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Samaritan Keep Home.

Those numbers are up from 18 residents and 4 staff members on Monday.

DiStefano says the first resident to test positive had mild symptoms. Now they’re testing everyone.

“What we’re finding is residents that tested negative just a few days ago have now tested positive recently,” she said.

Distefano says positive patients are isolated away from others.

At Summit Village, three staff members in the skilled nursing area tested positive for COVID during routine testing Monday. No residents have tested positive. Visitation is paused at Summit Village and Sam Keep for the time being.

These positive cases come three weeks after the state mandate requiring all healthcare workers to get vaccinated. DiStefano says the vast majority of employees at the facilities are vaccinated, but there are some religious exemptions.

As for the residents, DiStefano says most are vaccinated too.

“So, a lot of these are breakthrough cases,” she said.

DiStefano says most people with positive cases are either feeling mild symptoms or they’re asymptomatic. However, DiStefano isn’t sure about the status of Tuesday’s positive cases.

DiStefano says because of these positive cases, Samaritan is moving up getting all eligible residents and staff members a booster shot. Instead of happening next week, it’ll happen Wednesday.

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