Omicron variant hits nursing homes

Entrance to Northcentral Healthcare's Mount View Care Center
Entrance to Northcentral Healthcare's Mount View Care Center(wsaw)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 4:53 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living just released a report showing a big increase in COVID-19 infections in U.S. nursing homes both in residents and staff.

That’s not the case for Northcentral Healthcare facilities in Wausau and Merrill.  They are feeling the strain from the increased contagion associated with the Omicron variant, but not among their residents.

“We kind of did a look-back from August through today, and we had 104 positive employee cases, but 79 of those have been from December into January, so you can think of the surge that’s happened in just the last month, a lot of that due to the Omicron variant,” said Chief Operating Officer Jarrit Nickel.

Nickel says the higher numbers of cases among staff members is indicative of what is happening with the virus in the Marathon and Lincoln County communities where they operate.

Even when the numbers were dipping in August through October of last year, though, the nursing homes never lessened the precautionary measures for their employees.  They have daily screenings, wear masks, practice advanced hand hygiene and all employees are tested twice a week whether they are vaccinated or not.

All of these measures have kept infections among residents in both nursing homes to just five since Thanksgiving.

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