Two of Hardin County’s reported six COVID-19 related deaths have been nursing home residents from the same facility, according to state data.

Cassie Allen, executive director at Kensington Center in Elizabethtown, said two residents who died in June only had been at the facility “a short period of time.”

Both had serious underlying health issues when they moved into Kensington, Allen said, and both, as is protocol, were tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival and placed in the assisted-living facility’s quarantine unit. They died within seven days of each other.

She said the residents initially tested negative and developed symptoms after being admitted.

Allen said any new resident spends the first 14 days at Kensington in a quarantine unit to make sure they are not positive for the virus.

COVID-19 has accounted for at least 349 deaths among nursing home residents in Kentucky as of Saturday, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Kensington Center has had three positive tests as of Tuesday morning with one person testing positive twice, Allen said. She said each positive test is based on its own and not on number of people. For instance, there could be 100 positive tests, but only 70 people who actually tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hardin County has seen 161 confirmed cases since March 20, including 15 from Monday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon, according to the Lincoln Trail District Health Department.

According to the state CO­VID-19 website, a sixth Hardin County resident, a male, 71, died Monday or Tuesday.

“The patients were admitted from the local hospital with a negative COVID test into our quarantine unit where patients are monitored for 14 days, receive COVID-19 tests on days four and 12, and are screened for symptoms every eight hours,” said Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer of Genesis HealthCare, which operates Kensington Center. “The positive tests were discovered while the patients were still on the quarantine unit. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both residents who passed away.”

Both residents were women, ages 84 and 80, according to Gov. Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 reports. He made the announcements June 10 and June 16.

Kensington Center is COVID-19 free and has been for 14 days as of Tuesday, Feifer said in a statement.

In all, there have been six positive tests among residents at four Hardin County nursing homes — one each at Presbyterian Homes-Helmwood in Elizabethtown, Signature HealthCARE of North Hardin and Signature Health­CARE of Elizabethtown. There have been two positive tests at Presbyterian Homes-Helmwood among staff, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Facilities self-report to the cabinet when a resident or employee tests positive for the virus.

Allen said Kensington Center staff immediately made families of residents aware of the positive tests.

She said Kensington staff works hard to make sure there is a line of communication between the facility and families, who have been able to have only limited access to family members because of the pandemic.

Allen said the facility hosts Zoom meetings with family members up to twice a day, every day of the week to provide updates. She said letters were sent to family members and they also called families.

“The communication has been able to provide some level of comfort,” Allen said.

Residents of the 82-bed facility are tested if they display symptoms after the initial mandatory quarantine period, Allen said. Staff also are tested if they display any symptoms.

“The staff is healthy and we have done a ton of testing,” she said.

Allen said Kensington Center frequently is disinfected and employees take steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control with social distancing and wearing protective masks.

“The most important thing is how we handle it. This is something that is very real and something we take seriously,” Allen said. “We are COVID-free and we’re in good shape.”

She said residents have begun seeing family members outdoors “in a very controlled environment.”

“We’re following all guidelines with social distancing and we’re using Plexiglas,” she said.

Feifer said Kensington has followed guidelines set by CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“ ... we have diligently followed them and in many cases, gotten out in front of public health guidelines, adopting even more stringent infection precautions than were recommended at the time,” he said in the statement. “We also continue to follow the direction of the Kentucky Department of Health in an effort to contain and minimize the spread of the virus.”

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

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