VALATIE — Columbia County marked its 20th death from COVID-19 on Sunday.
The person was a resident of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell in Valatie, the Columbia County Department of Health confirmed Monday.
Barnwell has seen the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the Twin Counties, with a total of 117 residents and more than 20 employees testing positive for the coronavirus.
The 20th death comes as nursing homes around the region continue fighting to halt the spread of the virus within their walls. Nearly all of the COVID-19 deaths in Columbia County have been nursing home residents as the elderly continue to be the most vulnerable to the virus.
The facility surpassed Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in total cases after county and state health officials performed testing on the more than 200 residents to determine the full extent of the outbreak, officials said.
Barnwell is housed in a six-story building and is the largest skilled nursing center in Columbia County.
The facility is owned by The Grand Healthcare System, a Queens-based company that operates more than a dozen nursing homes around the state, including locations in Rome, Utica and Great Neck.
Jay Lawrence, director of corporate business development for The Grand Healthcare System, did not return repeated requests for comment on Monday.
Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle said she has not been able to get any information from the Barnwell administrators about the outbreak.
“The only people they respond to is the state or the [Department of Health],” she said.
Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Philmont, reported a COVID-19 death on Saturday.
The person was a resident of Greene Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center who was transferred to Columbia Memorial Hospital and later to Pine Haven, where the person died, Pine Haven spokesman Geoff Thompson said.
At the time, Greene Meadows Nursing And Rehabilitation Center had no positive cases, so the person was transferred to Pine Haven for care, Thompson said.
Pine Haven was the first nursing home in the region to report a major outbreak and has recorded a total of 13 deaths from COVID-19, Thompson confirmed. Six Pine Haven residents are still battling the virus, he said on Monday.
One additional resident of Greene Meadows Nursing And Rehabilitation tested positive for COVID-19 and was transferred to Pine Haven for care, said Administrator John Edwards. That individual has since fully recovered from the virus and was returned to Greene Meadows, Edwards said.