State officials have ordered the shutdown of a Southeast Portland nursing home following the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus at an Oregon care facility.
Officials with the Department of Human Services ordered the emergency suspension of Healthcare at Foster Creek's state license due to inadequate infection control to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
An inspection in mid-April revealed that Foster Creek employees didn’t wash their hands, failed to properly socially distance and were not trained in how to slow the spread of infection. Some staff were only provided one face mask per shift.
According to a statement from DHS, that negligence has led to 117 positive cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff. Twenty-eight people have died in association with the facility’s outbreak as of May 5.
DHS is seeking alternative care providers for its remaining residents.
“We have worked on multiple strategies to contain the COVID-19 outbreak at Healthcare at Foster Creek and have concluded that moving all residents is mandatory at this stage,” read a statement from Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities, which licenses long-term care facilities.
According to the suspension order, 55 residents were sent to hospitals and about 21 residents with suspected or confirmed cases were transferred to other facilities as of Tuesday. About 95 residents lived at the facility in March. The Oregonian/OregonLive first reported the outbreak happening in long-term care facilities.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, at least 21% of COVID-19 cases are among residents and workers at congregate care facilities. The latest data from DHS shows cases have been found among 27 Oregon care facilities as of May 5.
DHS officials became aware of a possible COVID-19 infection at Foster Creek on March 24 — two days later, the agency received a complaint expressing concerns around infection control practices. The state launched the inspection of the facility two weeks after Foster Creek reported 10 deaths.
The department implemented an order of preventative measures for Foster Creek, providing assistance with personal protective equipment for staff, along with funding for additional staff and two DHS registered nurses to provide guidance on site.
Despite that, DHS found that the facility’s actions “create a serious danger to the public health and safety,” resulting in “a persistent source and spread of COVID-19 in a facility with extremely vulnerable residents, and in the community at large.”
Healthcare at Foster Creek now has 90 days to request a hearing to object to the suspension.