July 16, 2021 — On Thursday, Lane County Public Health (LCPH) began to alert the community about an outbreak of COVID-19 at Spruce Point Assisted Living and Memory Care in Florence.
“Currently, we have 19 residents and six staff members who have tested positive via rapid antigen test,” LCPH Public Information Officer Jason Davis said.
The next step is to verify the cases with a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus.
Davis said the PCR will help create “a better number” of those affected.
“This really points to sort of a larger phenomenon that we’ve seen across the county, with long-term care workers not being vaccinated and in turn seeing outbreaks in those facilities,” Davis said. “It’s really the only place we’ve continued to have outbreaks across Lane County.”
LCPH reported three other assisted living facility outbreaks in June.
According to Davis, many facilities of this type across the county have a low vaccination rate amongst staff.
“Unfortunately, we will see this happen more and more unless that rate changes,” he said. “Hopefully, we will rectify this situation with higher vaccination numbers.”
Lane County is continuing to offer vaccination clinics free to all, including a drive-through clinic in Florence every three weeks. People can go to lanecounty.org/vaxclinics to learn more and register for their vaccination.
As of press time Friday, Spruce Point and its parent company Nightingale Healthcare did not respond to requests for comment.
“It’s definitely an unfortunate situation there for Spruce Point Memory Care, as those folks are some of our most vulnerable community members and rely on the rest of us getting our immunizations to protect them,” Davis said.
This is a developing story, and LCPH will provide updates as they become available.
For more information about COVID-19 in this area, visit lanecounty.org/coronavirus.