According to the CDC, based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults (65 and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Nursing home or long-term care facilities are vulnerable to a higher occurrence, as COVID-19 has shown to spread quickly in places where there is a large number of people for extended amounts of time. It is not unexpected that there would be cases of COVID-19 in populations such as this. According to the Area Agency on Agency, there are approximately 150 senior living facilities (skilled nursing, independent living, assisted living, memory care) in Johnson County, with upwards of 20,000 people residing in them.
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) continues to work closely with long term care facilities in the county, surveying them on an on-going basis to identify the possible spread of the disease and working with the facilities to prevent further illness. JCDHE has provided information and education through a weekly webinar and connects the facilities to the most up to date infection prevention and control precautions and guidelines from CDC, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and more.
JCDHE has also provided testing supplies to facilities who have requested them to do random sampling testing. JCDHE will increase testing capacity within long term care facilities as testing supplies and resources become available.
The facilities identified have worked diligently to mitigate the spread of disease, following CDC and KDHE guidance and infection control measures as directed and protecting their population. Once a case has been confirmed, contact tracing begins to identify and quarantine any close contacts. KDHE defines an outbreak of disease as two or more cases.