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Large cluster of COVID-19 cases expands at Absolut Care, as new cases arise at other nursing homes

Jeff Smith
The Leader
Steuben County Public Health officials said Thursday that 36 residents and 13 staff at Absolut Care Three Rivers, seen here in Painted Post, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two days.

PAINTED POST - Steuben County health officials are currently monitoring a very large cluster of new positive COVID-19 cases at Absolut Care Three Rivers, said Hilda Lando, a member of the Steuben County Legislature's Human Services, Health & Education Committee.

As of Friday, 38 residents and 15 employees of Absolut Care Three Rivers had tested positive for COVID-19, according to Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith. Further testing will continue to be conducted.

The individuals are isolated and being monitored by the county Health Department.

Absolut Care Three Rivers, located in Painted Post, has recently confirmed dozens of positive COVID-19 tests among both residents and employees

Public Health staff investigated and identified close contacts of the confirmed cases and exposure risks, according to Smith. All those known to have direct contact with the individuals have been notified. 

“The Board of Health has to monitor this (outbreak) -- it’s ongoing every day,” Lando said. “They’re just committed to working on this day in and day out.” 

Absolut Care has a maximum capacity of 120 residents (beds), according to public records.

Smith said when cases start showing up in nursing homes it is typically a bigger sign of community spread as employees are "active community members."

“We are aware of a growing number of cases (at Absolute Care),” said Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler. “We are working with the facility and the state Department of Health, but I can confirm there are a growing number of cases (at that facility).” 

Also among the cases reported Thursday were two employees of the Elderwood nursing facility in Hornell, which suffered an outbreak in the spring, and one employee at Highland Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Wellsville.

Friday's update from county officials included a resident at Corning Center, which has already experienced a major outbreak; three employees at the Wellsville Manor facility; one employee at Broad Acres Nursing Home in Wellsboro, Pa.; plus employees at Corning Hospital and Jones Memorial Hospital (Wellsville).

Officials said the additions bring the county total to 1,423 confirmed cases, 126 of which are currently active.