A long-term care facility in Frederick will now become a post-acute care facility for COVID-19 patients.
Starting Monday, Ballenger Creek Center on Ballenger Center Drive will accept COVID-19 positive patients, according to a press release on Friday from the facility. These are patients who have been released from local hospitals.
Those coming to Ballenger Creek Center after a hospital stay due to COVID-19 are typically stable but need extra rehabilitation following their time at the hospital, Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer at the facility, said in an email.
They will receive care from nurses and aides who work for Ballenger Creek Center, Feifer said.
“Our employees are coming to work each day and every day to care for their patients and residents,” Feifer said. “They are true heroes during this pandemic.”
After being discharged from the hospital, some patients require care that is best accomplished in skilled nursing facilities, said Dr. Kathy Weishaar, vice president of Medical Affairs at Frederick Health.
Ballenger Creek Center reached out to Frederick Health to start discussions about where those being discharged from the hospital who needed to go to a skilled care facility, could go, said Heather Kirby, vice president of Integrated Care Delivery at Frederick Health.
“The center will provide a much-needed resource in our care continuum, providing well-trained and equipped staff and ensuring our patients and our community receive excellent care close to home,” Kirby said. “We are thankful for the quick work of this center to create this much needed resource in our community during this unprecedented time.”
Current residents who are negative for COVID-19 will be discharged or moved home, if possible. Those who cannot go home will be transferred to other long-term care facilities, according to the press release. Residents must test negative twice before they can be discharged, Feifer said
Feifer did not say what other facilities residents could be sent to.
The facility has the highest number of cases of COVID-19 among the long-term care facilities in Frederick County, according to the Maryland Department of Health. There are 88 cases among residents and 41 staff members. There have been 15 deaths.
Staff and residents are being monitored three times a day for symptoms of COVID-19, Feifer said. Employees are also given appropriate personal protective equipment.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Maryland continue to decrease on Friday, dropping below 1,500 for the first time since April 27. In Frederick County, hospitalizations increased by two.
While hospitalizations overall dropped by 44, the number of patients in intensive care rose by nearly 30, reaching the second-highest number of patients so far in the pandemic, according to data provided by the Maryland Department of Health.
Acute care is where the decreases happened, with the number of patients dropping by 71. As of Friday, 6,679 Maryland residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
That means about 18 percent of confirmed cases of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 required hospitalizations.
Deaths also continued to rise, although at a smaller increase. Deaths went up by 44, bringing the state death toll to 1,792. Almost 5 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state resulted in death.
That is not necessarily the mortality rate of the disease, as limited testing meant that those with milder cases or those without symptoms were not tested. So while the state now reports 36,986 confirmed cases of the disease, it is likely that there are other cases in the state that went undiagnosed.
Without knowing the true number of cases, it is difficult to calculate a mortality rate, the News-Post previously reported.
The Frederick County Health Department reported two additional deaths. A woman in her 80s and a woman in her 70s died, said Rissah Watkins, director of assessment, planning and communications. Overall, cases in the state rose by 1,083, slightly lower than reported on Thursday. Frederick County saw an increase of 36 cases, bringing the total in the county to 1,428.