In Maricopa County, of the 248 coronavirus-related deaths during the pandemic, 175 —70% — were residents of long-term facilities, according to the Maricopa County Department of Health.
While other facilities have not shared information on deaths, Glencroft Center for Modern Aging in Glendale announced 38 residents tested positive for COVID-19 and seven residents died from complications from the disease, according to Millie Oakeson, vice president of corporate marketing for the facility.
“Glencroft has 1,600 people working and living on its campus. The seven deaths have come from Providence Place, a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility at Glencroft,” Oakeson said.
She said none of the 600 residents in Glencroft’s independent living residences have tested positive.
“All of the residents who have died from the virus had chronic illnesses or a terminal disease which contributed to their passing,” Oakeson said, adding 31 employees tested positive for COVID-19.
“Glencroft has been in Glendale for well over 50 years, they’re very respectable — a great nonprofit that does fabulous work,” Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said. “It’s a shame this is happening but it’s happening at nursing facilities all over the United States.”
According to Oakeson, “Glencroft has been able to test 532 residents and 329 employees. Test results indicate that 31 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 15 employees have returned to work after being re-tested with negative results and using guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Infection. No workers were allowed to work with a temperature or showing signs of the virus,” Oakeson said.
She added there has been a “critical shortage” of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Glencroft continues to test residents and employees, and there has been no visitation allowed for more than 10 weeks. Employees are checked and screened daily, and infected residents are isolated to prevent further spread,” Oakeson said.
State Sen. Paul Boyer, who lives in Glendale, said he is puzzled by what happened at Glencroft. “The frustrating part of that is they took precautions way early. They did screenings and had no visitors 10 weeks ago,” said Boyer, who represents District 20, which includes Glendale.
“They have been so careful and so diligent it’s unfortunate they’ve had so many cases.”
“We wish them the best and pray we can get this thing taken care of,” Weiers said.
Several other long-term facilities in the Valley reported multiple residents die of COVID-19. The Glendale Star and other media companies have requested the names of all long-term facilities that have deaths and positive cases. County and state representatives denied the requests, saying that information is private. (The AARP, which also requested names of facilities, disputes this interpretation of privacy laws.)
According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, “Residents of long-term care facilities (including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation facilities and hospice facilities) are at highest risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection, because they live in a communal setting and tend to be older with chronic medical conditions.”
Of 1,018 COVID-19 cases among residents at 142 long-term facilities, 222 (22%) have been hospitalized and 175 (17%) have died.
Of the 222 residents of long-term facilities that have been hospitalized in the county, 79% have died.
And 90% of those who have died of COVID-19 in the county have been 65 or older, according to Maricopa County Department of Public Health data.
Of the remaining COVID-19 deaths, 8% have been in the 45-to-64 age range, with 2% 20 to 44.
Of the county deaths, 97% have been “high risk”—65 or older and/or had a chronic condition.
Arizona Department of Health Services figures show 79% of Arizona’s COVID-19 deaths have been 65 or older.
Two employees of long-term facilities in Maricopa County have died of COVID-19. According to Maricopa County Department of Public Health, “Of 458 COVID-19 cases among staff, 23 (5%) have been hospitalized.”