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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Carefree Living reports four Ely deaths

Information on Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 webpage suggests wider outbreak

David Colburn
Posted 9/16/20

ELY – Four deaths of Ely Carefree Living residents this past weekend were reported by Spectrum Health on the company’s COVID-19 webpage on Tuesday.The Sept. 15 update did not state the …

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Carefree Living reports four Ely deaths

Information on Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 webpage suggests wider outbreak

Posted

ELY – Four deaths of Ely Carefree Living residents this past weekend were reported by Spectrum Health on the company’s COVID-19 webpage on Tuesday.
The Sept. 15 update did not state the cause of death for any of the residents but included additional COVID testing information for two of the complex’s three buildings in Ely and added a note stating, “We pray our other residents who are positive for COVID will continue to recover.”
The post also noted that no residents had been hospitalized.
“The Ely staff provided their end-of-life care per family choice. These special residents have been our family, friends and neighbors. Our dedicated and caring staff continue to provide the best care possible,” the post read.
The obituary for a woman in her 80s that was posted to an area funeral home’swebsite said that she passed away at Carefree Living on Sept. 11 and “was a victim of COVID-19”.
The Timberjay made multiple attempts on Wednesday to contact Spectrum CEO Merle Sampson by phone and email, but Sampson did not respond by press time.
Sampson announced the first positive cases of COVID-19 at Ely Carefree Living in an Aug. 31 press release. A staff member presented with COVID-19 symptoms on Aug. 24, and two residents subsequently tested positive as of Aug. 31.
A reference to “continued cases for both staff and residents” was in a Sept. 9 update posted to the Spectrum COVID page, but no specifics about case numbers were reported.
The COVID cases at Carefree Living reported on Aug. 31 occurred as the numbers of positive cases were on the rise locally and throughout the county. The Ely area zip code added nine cases between Sept. 3 and Sept. 8, making the total cumulative case count of 21 more than four times higher than just three weeks before.
Although the Department of Health maintains a list of long-term care facilities reporting at least one COVID-19 case or exposure in the past 28 days, no specific information about the number of cases or deaths in individual facilities is reported.
St. Louis County has also trimmed one means of tracking the progress of COVID-19— daily zip code case updates on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard reporting tool have been discontinued. New totals are now reported weekly, on Thursdays.
Timberjay Ely Editor Keith Vandervort contributed to this report.

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