Anchorage elder care facility reports new cluster of coronavirus cases

A blue sign with directions that says "Providence Extended Care" and has a house in the background.
The Providence Transitional Care Center shares a campus with Providence Extended Care in East Anchorage. It was quiet outside of the campus on Monday, June 1, 2020, with a security vehicle staged at the entrance. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

A senior home in Anchorage reported six new coronavirus cases since Friday, despite a ban on most visitors that has been in effect for months.

A Sunday notice on Providence Extended Care’s website stated that it detected four new cases on Friday and reported two more on Saturday. 

Three of the cases are residents who are being treated at the facility, while the other three are staff who are quarantining at home. 

The East Anchorage campus, which also has a transitional care facility for patients recovering from medical procedures, had a large outbreak earlier this summer that infected dozens of residents and staff. At the time, it was Alaska’s largest outbreak, but only one of the cases occurred at Providence Extended Care. The outbreak resulted in at least two deaths.

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The facility has only allowed end-of-life visitation since the beginning of the pandemic, and officials say that they have been regularly testing staff and residents for COVID-19. 

The CDC warns that nursing homes present a serious risk of COVID-19 because of the number of people living in one building, as well as the age of residents, which makes them more likely to have severe cases of the disease.

At a Friday press conference, Anchorage Epidemiologist Dr. Bruce Chandler said that there have been 28 nursing homes that have reported COVID-19 cases in the past few months.

News of the nursing home cases comes as Alaska continues a spike in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the state reported 191 new cases among Alaska residents, 107 of which were in Anchorage.