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UPDATED: First Berks Heim Resident Death from COVID-19

County of Berks / COVID19 Leadership Team Alert

Apr 18, 2020
Berks Heim Nursing Home

Reading, PA —  The Berks County Commissioners offer their condolences to the family and friends of the first Berks Heim resident to die as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
Very sad to see this happen.

Berks County Commissioner Chair Christian Leinbach announced today that an 87-year old female resident on the dementia unit, Essex Commons, who had displayed symptoms on April 16th and tested positive on April 17, 2020 passed away the same day. “The sad reality of this virus is that some people, primarily the elderly and those with underlying conditions will die.” Leinbach stated. “That truth doesn’t make the loss any easier for family or friends and our prayers are with the family of this lady.”

The Berks Heim continues to take precautions including monitoring of temperatures, symptoms, and following recommended guidelines to restrict access as necessary based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control), CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health standards.  All staff are wearing isolation/surgical masks.

The Berks Heim continues to be closed to general visitors.

The Berks County Commissioners announced Friday evening that a third Berks Heim resident has tested positive for COVID19.

Key measures were in place prior to the positive test.

As previously reported Berks Heim stopped taking visitors March 11, 2020. The facility instituted screening all employees and other approved individuals entering the building. These precautions include monitoring of temperatures, symptoms, and following recommended guidelines to restrict access as necessary based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control), CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health standards.  All staff are wearing isolation/surgical masks which serve the purpose of protecting staff and residents from the wearer should he/she be asymptomatic while carrying the virus.

Residents always remain on their nursing units and in their rooms as much as possible.  All needed services continue to be provided to the residents.  We continue to admit new residents to the facility only after an extensive review and approval process. New residents are admitted to a specific area to be quarantined for 14 days. We continue to follow Infection Control guidelines to maintain a safe and clean environment for the residents and staff of Berks Heim.   We also have precautions in place for food preparation, delivery and service for the residents.

Actions taken to address residents testing positive for COVID19

The resident who tested positive for COVID-19 was tested on April 16th and results received on April 17th confirmed a positive COVID19 result. The resident resides on a unit where a previous positive result was reported. The family of the positive tested resident has been notified and all family members of residents on this unit have been previously notified of a positive resident on the unit. Additionally, employees and union leadership have been notified.

Berks County and Berks Heim Management are committed to protecting the health of both our residents and our employees especially during this unprecedented health crisis.

Berks Heim will continue to provide the needed care to our residents per our Infection Control program and the guidance that has been provided daily by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), the Berks County Department of Emergency Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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