Rise of coronavirus in nursing homes has Muskegon County probing possible reinfections

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – A concerning uptick in coronavirus cases among nursing homes is under investigation by Muskegon County health officials, who are exploring whether there may be some reinfections.

That’s according to Kathy Moore, director of Public Health-Muskegon County, who said she’s concerned about the continuing growth in new COVID-19 cases.

There is one known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the county, in which the two episodes of illness were about four months apart, Moore said.

Muskegon County statistics show a surge of 14 cases among individuals age 80 and older in the past week. There are another six new cases among people in their 70s.

Overall, the county recorded 74 additional cases since Sept. 30, bringing the cumulative total to 1,566. Deaths increased by two in the last eight days – both of whom were elderly patients from congregate living facilities, Moore said.

Muskegon County public health employees are working to get to the bottom of the increase in cases among people in such congregate living facilities as nursing homes and assistance living residences, Moore said.

“We don’t understand if it’s a second wave of (illness in) the same individuals, or did they get new staff?” she said. “We’re trying to understand what’s happening.”

The state requires testing of employees and residents every seven days if there’s a new positive case among them, Moore said, adding that that may not be enough.

“I feel like we may have to step back and rethink this,” she said.

There has not been a school outbreak in Muskegon County, and Moore praised the cooperation of the education community. The county’s statistics show another six cases among young people age 19 and under, but investigators determined none of the exposures occurred at school, she said.

The rise in cases among those 80

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