Wayne County has marked its 16th death related to COVID-19, and state and local health officials are currently responding to an outbreak in a long-term care facility.

A death of a female in her early 90s on Oct. 3 has been attributed to COVID-19, according to Christine Stinson, executive director of Wayne County Health Department. Stinson said the patient was a resident of a long-term care facility.

Wayne County health officials are hoping October will be an overall less deadly month for local residents if safety precautions are widely taken.

September was the deadliest month for local COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began, with five deaths counted in that month.

However, officials are still working to reduce the impact of an outbreak in a long-term care facility in Wayne County.

Western Wayne News has been publishing a chart each week with data supplied by local health campuses to Indiana State Department of Health.

In addition, some long-term care facilities have been publishing their own data online.

The website for Trilogy Health Services, which owns Forest Park Health Campus in Richmond, shows 50.8 percent of Forest Park’s residents and 22 percent of its active employees being COVID-19 positive or presumed positive on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The database shows 18 of Forest Park’s 82 active employees are ill or presumed positive, and so are 32 of its 63 in-house residents.

It indicates a cumulative total of 73 presumed positive/positive employees and residents, a total of 19 employee and resident recoveries, and four COVID-related deaths.

Stinson did not identify the nursing center facing the outbreak by name, but said county health department employees have been in close contact with its staff over the past two weeks.

She said staff of the long-term care facility also have been working with Indiana State Department of Health to implement their infectious disease control plans.

“We believe they are doing all they can,” Stinson said. “Once this virus gets a hold in a facility, it is hard to contain it and often runs a course of both staff and residents.”

Along with the increase of cases in the long-term care facility, Wayne County has seen an increase in community cases.

“We advise the public to understand these next few months will be a time we all must proceed with caution,” Stinson said.

She urges residents to wear a mask, maintain social physical distance and avoid large gatherings, especially ones where participants are not wearing masks and not achieving 6 feet of distance.

“It is up to each one of us to keep our community transmission low,” Stinson said. “We want to keep schools open, we want to keep our residents of long-term care facilities safe and alive. All of this depends on each one of us doing our part.”

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