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COVID-19 found in 11 residents and workers at Oakwood Village's nursing home on Madison's West Side
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COVID-19 found in 11 residents and workers at Oakwood Village's nursing home on Madison's West Side

From the The COVID-19 pandemic hits home: Keep up with the latest local news on the coronavirus outbreak series
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Oakwood Village

Oakwood Village's University Woods campus is on Madison's West Side.

Four residents and seven workers at Oakwood Village’s nursing home on Madison’s West Side have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first known cluster of cases at a nursing home in Dane County.

Oakwood spokesman Keith VanLanduyt confirmed the cases Monday and said the nursing home has a wing designated to isolate and serve people with COVID-19. He didn’t respond to questions about when the residents and staffers were diagnosed, if the cases are considered to be related, how many people have been tested overall and if the infected workers are at home in isolation.

Oakwood, the largest senior living organization in Madison, has two campuses, with nearly 1,000 people combined in independent apartments, assisted living and nursing homes at University Woods on the West Side and Prairie Ridge on the East Side. The COVID-19 cases are at the nursing home at University Woods, VanLanduyt said.

Health officials have paid special attention to COVID-19 infections in nursing homes, where older residents with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to potentially fatal complications such as pneumonia.

Many of the initial U.S. deaths from the new coronavirus were among residents of a nursing home near Seattle, where workers were later shown to have spread the virus to other facilities. Wisconsin National Guard medics were sent last month to a senior living facility in Grafton and last weekend to one in Sheboygan to assist with outbreaks.

Sarah Mattes, spokeswoman for Public Health Madison and Dane County, declined to identify any other nursing homes or senior facilities in the county that may have COVID-19 cases.

“We are in contact with facilities to make sure they are aware of the guidance from both the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin State Department of Health Services) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we of course follow-up with long term care facilities if a case has been identified,” Mattes said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakwood, like other nursing homes, has taken several steps to try to prevent infections, VanLanduyt said.

It has limited entrance to one location on each campus, started screening employees by taking their temperature, increased sanitation and banned most visitors, he said. Group programming has been canceled and dining options are delivery only.

“We are allowing our end-of-life/hospice residents to have family visitation on a controlled basis only,” VanLanduyt said in an email. “Hospice caregivers can access their patients as needed on both campuses.”

Packages and groceries must be dropped off at entrances, and staff are delivering items, he said.

“Staff are wearing proper equipment for their roles and in resident contact,” he said.

In direct health care areas, infected residents and residents who travel are provided masks, he said. “Quarantine is the primary tool however,” he said.

Other residents may wear masks, but Oakwood isn’t providing them due to limited supply, he said.

“We are asking any residents that have come to the campus from travel destinations where there is significant (COVID-19) case numbers to self-isolate/quarantine in their apartment homes for 14 days,” he said.

State Journal reporter Dean Mosiman contributed to this report.

Photos: A look at how COVID-19 is affecting Wisconsin

Oakwood, like other nursing homes, has taken several steps to try to prevent infections.

Oakwood, like other nursing homes, has taken several steps to try to prevent infections.

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