COVID-19 outbreak at Florence memory care facility causes concern

"If you work in a place where you take care of elderly people and you're not vaccinated, somebody's dropping the ball somewhere."

Posted: Jul 17, 2021 7:29 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 12:44 PM

FLORENCE, Ore. -- Some community members in Florence are stunned after Lane County Public Health reported a major COVID-19 outbreak at Spruce Point Assisted Living and Memory Care.

A total of 19 residents and six staff members have tested positive for the virus, according to a spokesperson for Lane County Public Health.

"If you work in a place where you take care of elderly people and you're not vaccinated, somebody's dropping the ball somewhere," Donnie Attleberger who frequently visits his father at the facility said.

Along with other visitors, Attleberger is now forced to meet with his loved one outdoors until the outbreak is under control.

"I believe that I should be able to be COVID tested so I can see my dad too in his room," Attleberger said. "I just spent two hours outside talking to him and you know, he gets tired. He's 90 years old. He's not going to want to sit outside all day."

According to Lane County Public Health, only 5% of the facility's staff members are vaccinated. Officials said the low vaccination rate is likely the reason for the outbreak.

"If you work in a place where you take care of elderly people and you're not vaccinated, somebody's dropping the ball somewhere-- that's healthcare," Attleberger said.

RELATED: NEW DATA FROM OHA SHOWS VARYING VACCINATION RATES AMONG CERTAIN HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONS

KEZI spoke with one man, who wanted to remain anonymous. He said he visits the facility often.

"I'd say staff, whenever they weren't around residents, generally weren't wearing masks especially after everything , the lower restrictions and stuff," the same man said.

Health officials said they're planning to send a vaccination team to the facility to make shots more accessible for both residents and staff who choose to get them.

The Oregon Health Authority's most recent weekly report shows three other care facilities in Lane County with active COVID-19 outbreaks. Those are Avamere Rehabilitation of Junction City, Good Samaritan Society - Eugene Village, and River Grove Memory Care.

Data regarding the percentage of residents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is unknown at this time, according to Lane County Public Health.

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