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Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center

State sends rapid respond team to a Pittsfield nursing home after COVID outbreak hits more than 60 residents, staff

nurses at nurses station in springside

The central nurse’s station in the locked wing for dementia residents at Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield. The facility is struggling with a COVID outbreak that appears to have began mid-March. 

PITTSFIELD — A coronavirus outbreak at Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield has decimated staffing levels and prompted the state to send its rapid response team to the facility.

It also prompted the state Department of Public Health to freeze admissions at the facility beginning Thursday, according to an online DPH spreadsheet that lists such temporary freezes. It is the only facility on that list.

Federal and state law allows visitation at all times, even amid outbreaks, given how critical family and other visitors are for the well-being and safety of nursing home residents.

As of Friday morning, a report posted in the lobby — a photo of which was obtained by The Eagle — says 44 residents and 17 staffers are positive for the virus.

That’s up two people from Thursday, when 43 residents and 16 staffers are positive, according to a photo of the report taken that day.

Facility owner BaneCare posted a report on its website indicating that as of March 23, seven residents and one employee are positive.

BaneCare President and Springside owner Kevin Morris did not respond to an email with questions from The Eagle.

A DPH spokesperson said the rapid response team arrived at the facility on Friday, March 17 and remains there as of Friday, March 24 to continue covering for staff who are out. The team is comprised of 14 licensed nurses and certified nurses aides.

On March 12, around 90 percent of the nursing home staff were apparently out due to infection, according to an employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job. By March 15, a total of 15 residents had tested positive, they added.

This month the nursing home posted a letter to families on its website with its visitation policies amid COVID to reduce the virus’ spread as well as exposure to it.

“Compassionate care visits are allowed at all times,” the letter says. “Facilities must accommodate compassionate care visits for residents, regardless of vaccination and outbreak status.”

Springside escaped the initial outbreaks in 2020 but was hit in January 2021 with infections that required the help of the response team and the Massachusetts National Guard. Conditions at the facility prompted federal regulators to slap the nursing home with fines and cite it for neglect and other violations.

There was another major outbreak in February of last year. All of it together revealed understaffing that led to more complaints of neglect.

Research cites chronic understaffing as a safety risk factor for residents and patients, as well as for COVID and other outbreaks.

Other Berkshire County nursing homes have struggled lately with COVID. Mount Carmel Care Center in Lenox fought a cluster of cases in January.

Mount Greylock Extended Care in Pittsfield had six residents and one staffer testing positive as of March 21, according to an online report from Integritus Healthcare — formerly called Berkshire Healthcare — the facility’s owner.

Other nursing homes in the county don’t post COVID reports on their websites.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or 413-329-6871.

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