Canton senior care facility reports one additional COVID-related death

United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care, 205 Canton-Madrid Road, Canton. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — In the same 24-hour period, the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered to staff and residents at United Helpers’ Canton nursing home, and 29 new virus cases were logged.

According to a Thursday afternoon update from United Helpers, the increase from Wednesday at the Canton Rehabilitation and Senior Care facility breaks down to 18 staff members and 11 residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus. One person from the site is hospitalized, and five people have died of COVID-19 complications — no change from Wednesday.

The Canton site, 205 Canton-Madrid Road, has logged 111 cases since an outbreak was first reported Nov. 29.

One of 618 nursing homes in the state participating in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, the Canton nursing home held its first vaccination clinic Thursday. All residents and 50% staff received first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The clinic was facilitated by three pharmacists from HealthDirect, the pharmaceutical company partnered with United Helpers through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Similar to flu vaccine partnerships, the CDC-pharmacy partnership is responsible for scheduling on-site clinics, ordering vaccines and supplies — syringes, needles and personal protective equipment — ensuring cold storage, administering the vaccine and reporting required vaccination data to local, state and federal officials within 72 hours of administering each dose.

Participating pharmacies nationwide include Walgreens and CVS, and HealthDirect, Kinney Drugs and Pharmscript in New York.

Initial doses were administered to all eligible residents at both the nursing home and the neighboring Assisted Living Program on Thursday, United Helpers Vice President of Quality Improvement Stacey L. Cannizzo said.

A total of 72 staff members from the nursing home and assisted living complex, she said, were vaccinated, and all 46 residents at the assisted living complex were eligible and vaccinated.

Due to the number of active cases and recent recoveries, only 32 of 74 nursing home residents were eligible to receive the vaccine. Current protocol, Ms. Cannizzo said, allows a dose to be administered two weeks after a recovery.

HealthDirect pharmacists are scheduled to return to Canton for a second clinic Jan. 22, when second doses and additional first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered.

The Ogdensburg Rehabilitation and Senior Care facility, 8101 Route 68, which has been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak since Nov. 22, is scheduled to receive vaccines Jan. 5. The same vaccination process will then begin for all residents and 50% staff.

No new cases were reported Thursday at the Ogdensburg nursing home. The site’s case count is at 207, attributed to an outbreak that began the weekend of Nov. 21. Five people remain hospitalized, and 22 people have died since the first fatality was reported from the home on Thanksgiving.

Visitation at the Canton and Ogdensburg locations continues to be suspended.

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