Orange County has now mostly banned visits to Valley View nursing home in Goshen to protect its residents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and flu season.
Based on the revised guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, Valley View will not allow people into its facility except in "end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the resident’s emotional well-being and care," said administrator Laurence LaDue in a March 13 letter. "If you feel your loved one falls into one of these categories or if you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 845-291-4815."
In addition, he said, residents will be allowed to leave the building only in emergencies and for medically necessary appointments.
"You are encouraged to call your loved one at Valley View. Additionally, the facility will be leasing IPhones for every unit so you may Facetime your loved one," LaDue says. "You may also drop off supplies for your loved one at the front desk if they need anything."
On March 9, when there were as yet no cases of coronavirus in Orange County, LaDue issued a letter "strongly discouraging" visits to the nursing home. He said at the time visits would likely be banned if a case did appear in the county. On March 12, Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown announced that one of its patients tested positive for COVID-19. On March 13, the health department announced the first case of an Orange County resident with COVID-19.
"Our residents are the most susceptible to obtaining the coronavirus," said LaDue in his March 9 letter. "We want to prevent an outbreak like the one that occurred in the nursing home in the state of Washington. Fourteen of their 90 residents have died from the virus, and only three of their staff showed up to work during the outbreak. We can't have this happen at Valley View."
The Orange County Sheriff halted visits to the county jail earlier in the week.
People with loved ones living at Valley View are encouraged to call them, LaDue said. Valley View will be leasing iPhones for every unit so that family and friends may communicate through Facetime.
Access for all visitors and vendors has already been restricted through the Simon building, LaDue said on March 9. Visitors, vendors, and staff members are screened for illness before they are allowed to enter the nursing home.
Preparing for an outbreak
LaDue said Valley View still has active cases of Influenza A throughout the facility, and that it "has been preparing for and is actively monitoring the coronavirus outbreak by following the Center for Disease Control, Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the New York State Department of Health notices and guidelines."
He says he's increased the cleaning of surfaces throughout the nursing home and has conducted an inventory of its supplies.
LaDue said nursing administrators are participating in a weekly conference call with the state health department, and that he is in regular contact with the county health commissioner and county executive's office.
As of March 13, there were 325 COVID-19 cases in New York State.