COVID-19 Outbreaks Suspected at Two Charles County Nursing Homes - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

COVID-19 Outbreaks Suspected at Two Charles County Nursing Homes

Coronavirus outbreaks are suspected at two nursing homes in Charles County, but government officials and facility managers say they cannot confirm the cases due to privacy issues.

“The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) cannot release a detailed list of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities affected by COVID-19 due to HIPAA and state laws surrounding confidentiality,” Maryland Health Department spokesman Charlie Gischlar said.

One of the suspected outbreaks is at The Charleston Senior Community in Waldorf and the other at Sagepoint Senior Living Facility in LaPlata.

An email, obtained Tuesday by the Baltimore Post-Examiner, confirms new COVID-19 cases at the Charleston facility. In the April 14 letter to family members, Executive Director Patrick Goff said the increase in cases was not unexpected.

“We have identified a few more positive cases of COVID in the building, and have moved these residents to our isolation floor as soon as the results are received,” Goff stated in the letter. “This increase, as I mentioned in my last update was to be expected.  The trend we have seen so far is that the residents and staff who have tested positive are not showing any symptoms, and are being caught by precautionary testing.”

The letter also suggested a health care team visited the facility Monday. In early April, under the leadership of  Gov. Larry J. Hogan, Jr., nursing home task force teams were established for senior living facilities to help combat the spread of the virus to elderly residents.

“We had an onsite visit yesterday from Dr. (Suzan) Lowry, the Health Officer for Charles County, along with some members of the Emergency Preparedness team,” Goff wrote. “The purpose of the visit was to see how we are handling the crisis, from the care provided to positive cases, and precautions we are taking for every resident and staff member.”

In a statement to the Baltimore Post-Examiner, Goff said he did not approve of the contents of the letter being shared.

“I have not authorized anyone to release them to the public,” Goff said. ” I would also like to let you know that I am the only person authorized to release any information to the media/press on behalf of The Charleston.”

At Sagepoint, a family member wishing to speak anonymously in fear of retaliation in the close-knit community, claimed a relative and another resident have recently tested positive for the virus. The family member claims others have also tested positive, including a nurse who is receiving treatment at St. Mary’s Hospital for the virus.

“On March 30, 2020, we communicated to you that Sagepoint had a resident test positive for COVID19 in the long-term care building,” an April 10 letter from management stated.  . . .” To attempt to combat spread, we developed a very aggressive plan to test all residents with and without symptoms. Working with the Maryland Department of Health, we were able to accomplish the testing.”

The family member claims Sagepoint management has kept resident “point of contacts” in the dark about the virus while the staff has been secretly working to prevent the spread.

The family member says they were not informed any testing took place until after the tests were completed. Nor were they informed when management changed internal policies that restricted movement of certain residents from other units, hallways and even when isolation in their rooms was required – including when doors were ordered to remain closed.

“Out of all the nursing facilities in the county, Sagepoint is considered to be the best,” the family member said. “I was in agreement with that until the last few months as I have witnessed so many things being swept under the rug and now with little to no transparency about what is going on in the facility with the virus. I have very little trust for the management team. They hide behind HIPPA and other privacy requirements.”

Sunday evening a post appeared on the Charles County Matters Facebook page administered by Deron Tross, a self-described community activist.

Tross said in an interview a Sagepoint staff member confided in him that four residents had tested positively for COVID-19 cases at the facility.

He said another source, with knowledge of outbreaks at the facility, said employees were not informed when a staff member also tested positive for the virus.

Sagepoint Executive Director Andrea Dwyer did not respond Tuesday afternoon to a series of questions about internal policies and COVID-19 cases, but at 9:09 p.m. Tuesday night, management posted a new letter on their website:

Communication policies will change:

“[W]e have begun an additional communication process during this situation,” the April 14 management letter stated. “Every day, Monday through Friday, a nurse will visit your family member and make daily contact by phone call with all residents’ families. These calls will be coordinated and allow us the opportunity to provide our Sagepoint families with a daily update, which will help to answer your questions.”

On Wednesday, Maryland health officials reported 10,032 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 349 deaths statewide.  Included in those figures, Charles County reported 310 cases and 11 deaths. Hogan said at an April 7 press conference 90 nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Maryland have been affected by “cases and clusters” of the coronavirus. Pleasant View Nursing Home in Carroll County has suffered 24 COVID-19 related deaths as on Monday, according to the Carroll County Health Department.

“My [family] believes we should be prepared for the worst,” the Sagepoint family member said. “I believe our family and all other families, as well as the public, should know how many cases they are dealing with for both residents and staff and how long this has been going on.”


About the author

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian is a freelance journalist and award-winning investigative reporter with an eye for transparency and accountability in government and politics. Kazanjian's reporting has triggered state investigations in police corruption, as well as changes to state policy in campaign finance and regulatory reform. During her 10-year freelance journey, she has also worked for cable television production companies like the Discovery Channel and Reelz providing true crime timelines for television series scripts. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY

37 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is a bad situation at sagepoint. The care for those that tested positive is terrible. Covid-19 is a respiratory virus. You cannot leave someone in bed all day because it is easier! This is how pneumonia sets in. They have to sit up and get up. Some need help eating. The limited staff doesn’t have time to do this. Family is not allowed in to see them. It is heart breaking.

  2. Anonymous says:

    At Sagepoint Senior Living facility in La-Plata, employees were been criticized for wearing mask on the floor where there are positive Covid 19 cases. Nurse are only provided a single protective gown for the whole shift; wearing it from one room of positive cases to another. Potentially contributing to the spread of Covid amongst residents and staffs. Staffing is at its worst time with only one nurse working a whole week in a floor of at least 40 + positive cases. This is high risk and management remains silent and arrogant of the potential health risk and spread of covid.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A family member was admitted to Charleston in 2017. After about a month conditions deteriorated. We observed and noted lapses in care, neglect of personal hygiene/weight loss/obvious deterioration and seemed over medicated. We voiced our opinions to family members in charge to no avail. Subsequently over the months she was hospitalized and after the last hospital admission with life threatening conditions she was released and moved to Sagepoint. After arriving at Sagepoint and over the months staying there her care was inadequate to the point that she could no longer walk, talk or feed herself. She was diagnosed recently with COVID 19 and in a matter of 2 days passed away. No one should have to die such a horrific death.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please someone check our Restore Health in White Plains.
    They are not forthcoming about the number of cases they have. Not all staff that have contact with patients wear PPE.
    Needs to be investigated.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What’s your email?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Employees were told to take off masks at one point earlier before things got really bad . Those employees weren’t able to protect themselves and prevent getting exposed !

  7. Anonymous says:

    A lot is coming to light about sagepoint . Information was kept from the residents and employees. The employees wasn’t taken seriously and safety wasn’t taken seriously.

  8. Anonymous says:

    G

  9. Anonymous says:

    I heard that the Sagepoint Homecare workers were being offered $100+ bonuses if they would take a shoft at Sagepoint LaPlata.

  10. Debi Florschutz says:

    Such sad news. I heard that families were not being allowed to get their loved ones and bring them home to be cared by their own families. That is wrong! Especially if that resident has tested negative! Why let the residents receive sub standard care when they can be cared for by their own family members! Sagepoint needs to think about their residents and their physical and mental well being. Sagepoint management needs to remember that their residents are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends to so many who love and worry about them and Sagepoint really needs to keep the families informed! Remember…the residents are the reason Sagepoint is in business!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the Board needs to review and possibly replace the management, including the Executive Director, Andrea and CNO, Denise for being dishonest with residents, families and staff. It’s a challenging time but no time for not telling the truth. Where is their moral liability? Now it’s gonna be legal liability. Too bad that such a excellent company has it’s reputation ruined by such poor senior inmanagerial judgement.

  12. Anonymous says:

    74 residents positive. Unknown number of staff but at least one staff is on a ventilator.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Have the Sagepoint Home Care workers been tested for Covid-19? Have any Home Care staff worked at the SL center and then been sent back to the Home Care community?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Have any of the staff members from Sagepoint Home Care been sent or asked to cover shifts at the facility?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I heard there are 90+ cases
    And 15+ deaths
    And there staff has to fight for PPE
    Sad thing is these people didn t have a choice on wether they want to work with patients who got the virus. They where told oh well work or quit. which in my opinion is wrong in so many ways especially with not enough PPE to go around. They have to stop sweeping it under the
    rug and admit to there wrongs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about using trash bags as PPE?? They have I have seen it on a daily basis at Sagepoint. Employees crying because they are scared to go in the building. They were not following protocol. I am positive! Before March 31 if any employees try to wear a mask that they brought with them to work they were told to take it off. Sagepoint needs to be honest and stop trying to feed everyone lies! Karma is for real. The only thing they did on time was Stopping visitors from coming in. Families have got to do everything in their power to make them be responsible for what they have caused!

  17. Anonymous says:

    60+ residents
    15+ staff members
    0 appreciation for the staff working with the sick elderly

  18. Anonymous says:

    The staff is working very hard to make sure it’s not transmitted to the next person while administration is working hard at sweeping things under the rug, WE NEED ANSWERS.. The staff at Sagepoint with all these positive residents with limited PPE, IS NOT GETTING NO HAZARDOUS PAY. I know what I pay monthly so that should be enough for the staff to get something for risking their lives. #amaddaughter

  19. Anonymous says:

    The staff weren’t even allowed to wear masks until there first positive case. They are completely keeping our families in the dark. It is extremely sad. And for those of you that think that It is only a few cases I’m sorry to say it’s a heck of a lot more than that! The staff are definitely trying their best as the guidance they’re getting from above. It all was a day late and a dollar short! The ball was dropped weeks ago. And unfortunately those sweet patients there have to pay the price. They were not following suggested guidelines from the governor for that facility. I don’t understand how they can say all these other nursing homes in the last few weeks with their numbers but can’t release the numbers for these two nursing homes? Prayers to all the patients and families.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I know people who work there at Sagepoint and they are working very hard to be sure that residents are being care for properly. And they change there gloves and wash there hands so much that it burns when they use hand sanitizer. what is happening is unfair to the residents and to workers who risk there lives and there families live every day by going in there to work. And they also have workers who are fighting as we speak to beat this virus. This virus don’t care about who you are or how clean you are it attacks even the cleanest of people and places. These works don’t even get hazard pay they are going in there and are fighting for these residents. So don’t come for the workers who are in there risking it all to save lives and comforting those who have no one at there beside at this time.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have heard from a resident from Sagepoint that there were several of resident have died from the covid-19 virus. Plus, there are staff working with one gown, one pair of gloves for all resident care. This is how this virus is being spread from person to person. Most of all without wash of their hands.

  22. Tarah Semega says:

    my father tested positive for covid-19 at sagepoint. His roommate went to the hospital for unrelated illness but tested positive at the hospital. He passed away. I have been informed there are 69 cases. Hippaa only applies when names are given not for numbers only. Sagepoint has not been forthcoming with information, not transparent at all. Families need the truth no matter how bad the news. A number of the aids and nurses have informed me they tested positive.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Try genesis in LaPlata, MD. Poor care for the patients and the employees are wearing the same gloves to care for different patients.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I had a family member pass away on March 25 who was living at Sagepoint. They were diagnosed with pneumonia and died the next day.

  25. Anonymous says:

    You need to checkout Restore Health- in White plains, Maryland. Address 4615 Einstein Pl. there is at least 3-4 cases, limited PPE, lack of education, no transparency, lack of resources, including staff. Poor mgt.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Yes it is bad havebto wear thevsame mask all day. Two die
    Fivecworks with it

  27. 2nd anonymous says:

    There are actually over 70 cases at sagepoint. There are employees with it too..some that have been hospitalized. They have also had at least 2 residents die thatvyesyed positive.

  28. Anonymous says:

    60 plus

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