One resident, 10 staff members at Stonebridge test positive for COVID-19

One resident of the senior skilled nursing facility at Stonebridge in Montgomery has tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 staff members have tested positive, according to an email sent by the management of the facility to families on Tuesday.

Two more residents of Stonebridge’s independent living community and 13 more staff members are under under investigation for COVID-19 symptoms, according to the email.

One family member of a resident said they were baffled by the information because they had contacted the facility shortly before the information was released and had been told Stonebridge had no COVID-19 cases.

This past weekend, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said long-term care facilities were issued guidelines on March 6 reminding them of their responsibility under the law to have an outbreak response plan that includes clear policies for the notification of residents, their families, visitors, and staff members when at least one COVID-19 case has been confirmed for a resident or staff member at the facility. Persichilis department sent a follow-up notification to all long-term care facilities Saturday with guidance for notifying people about COVID-19 cases at the facilities. Residents and staff members must be informed in person and in writing. Facilities can notify family members and guardians about COVID-19 cases by phone or email, but must follow up in writing within three days. Persichilli said if long-term care facilities do not notify the state by Monday that they are following the guidelines, the state will publicly release the names of the facilities that have at least one COVID-19 case.

On Tuesday, Anthony Argondizza, president and CEO of Springpoint, the company that owns Stonebrook, sent one email containing the statistics and a second email regarding notification procedures and other policies to families of residents.

“Many senior living communities in our area are now reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among both residents and staff. We have received questions regarding our process for notification in the event of positive or suspected case of COVID-19,” Argondizza wrote, and then listed the steps the company is taking regarding notifications.

• If a staff member or resident is identified as positive or under investigation for COVID-19, the company immediately notifies health officials and/or emergency management officials and its own Springpoint COVID-19 Task Force.
• If an independent living resident is identified as positive, with their consent Springpoint notifies their family or their power of attorney or responsible party
• Any staff, resident, or family member who may have had exposure due to close contact with the individual who tested positive or is under investigation for COVID-19 is notified in a one-to-one communication and provided with instructions on specific actions they need to take to prevent further transmission and to monitor for symptoms.
• A written notification is sent to residents, family, and staff once there has been a reported positive case in a community. “If you have not received such a communication, then your community has not yet reported a case of COVID-19,” reads the email.
• Effective 4/6/2020, communities with active cases will distribute a written report indicating the total number of confirmed and suspected cases among residents and staff, and will issue an updated report
within 24 hours if there are additional cases.

Staff members at Stonebridge will only enter a resident’s apartment for emergency medical, maintenance, or sanitation purposes and employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment, according to the letter.