COVID-19 Outbreak Hits Our Island Home Nursing Facility

The Our Island Home nursing facility is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19, with half of its 30 residents currently infected along with four staff members

Michelle Munroe, the nursing home’s assistant administrator, told the Current yesterday that the state Department of Public Health is dispatching three members of its “Rapid Response Team” to Nantucket this week to assist Our Island Home with its staffing needs as it responds to the outbreak. 

Citing privacy laws, Munroe said she could not share any information regarding the severity of the COVID-19 cases that have affected 15 Our Island Home residents and the four staff members, including whether any have required a higher level of care. Munroe did disclose that as of Sunday, one resident and one staff member are considered to be recovered from their infections. 

In an email to family and friends of Our Island Home residents, Munroe said both staff and residents have been continuously tested in an effort to identify additional infections, and that the facility has taken a number of steps to slow the spread of the virus. 

Volunteers have been prohibited from visiting the facility until further notice, and communal dining has been placed on hold, she said. In addition, large group activities have also been suspended, along with homemade food deliveries. 

While the facility is still allowing visits, Munroe said “we highly recommend limiting visits if possible during our current COVID-19 status.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a staggering toll on nursing homes across the country, with more than 142,000 deaths among residents since March 2020, according to CDC data. Vaccinations have slowed the rate of infections and deaths substantially, as more than 87 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated. While the omicron variant has led to another large wave of infections in nursing homes over the past month – the number of deaths has only increased slightly. 

It’s not clear how many of Our Island Home’s 30 residents are vaccinated. 

Up until now, Our Island Home has navigated the COVID-19 onslaught largely unscathed, and made it through the first year of the pandemic with no infections and no deaths among its residents. We wrote about that stellar safety track record back last May for N Magazine. 

In a social media post, the Friends of Our Island Home charitable volunteer group thanked Sophie T’s for partnering with it to provide food for staff and residents. 

“It has been a difficult time at our nursing home with this most recently outbreak of cases of COVID,” the group stated. “Please send a wish of wellness and strength to all who have been working so hard, for nearly two years, to hold down the fort.”

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