PHILMONT — A prayer vigil was held at Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after six more residents tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
The outbreak has spread to all three wings of the nursing home, health officials said in a statement. Residents exposed to the virus had previously been confined to the west wing of the facility.
Pine Haven is following state-issued protocols and is taking measures to reduce the risk of infection among residents, officials said.
“Staff is being confined to working in one area, rather than moving between wings,” said Columbia County Public Health Director Jack Mabb in a statement.
Two Pine Haven residents have died from COVID-19, including one who was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Columbia Memorial Hospital. One resident in the facility has tested negative, health officials said Monday.
Testing of residents is overseen by Pine Haven’s medical director, not the county, said Columbia County Health Department Public Information Officer Patricia Abitabile.
“We don’t tell them whether they have to test or not,” she said. “They have their own protocols.”
Health officials could not say if any of the Pine Haven health care workers have tested positive.
Pat Kilmer, whose husband Stan is one of the 17 Pine Haven residents who have tested positive, attended the vigil with members of her congregation from the Rock Solid Church in Hudson.
“It has been very hard,” Kilmer said, “Their families can’t come in there, but we just want to show them that they are loved and cared about.”
Her husband tested positive more than a week ago and has been unconscious for the past several days, she said.
Kilmer, a retired Columbia Memorial Hospital health care worker, said she is in constant contact with the nurses and staff members who are taking care of her husband.
“Pine Haven has done their best and they are wonderful to me and to my husband,” she said.
Not being able to visit in person is the hardest part, Kilmer said, especially as her husband’s health has declined. By visiting from afar, she hopes that residents inside the facility will feel less alone.
Thirty-eight people showed up at Pine Haven to pray and sing, said Rock Solid Deacon Anne Knapp, of Ghent, who organized the vigil after hearing about the increase in COVID-19 positives at the facility.
“We wanted them to know that people care, because it’s the Columbia County epicenter,” she said,
Pine Haven administrators gave their permission for the vigil on the condition that attendees practice social distancing, Knapp said.
“There were a lot of little kids. The youngest was 2, the oldest in his 60s. Four of my children were with me,” she said.
“We are all spread out in the parking lot praying, reading scripture, singing songs,” said Suzanna Cincotti. “We started a walk all the way around the facility like a prayer parade. We went all around and waved at people from their windows. It was quite moving.”
Knapp said the group held signs and sang as they walked by.
“Most of them are bedridden, so we held signs up against the window,” she said. “They are all isolated in their rooms, but one woman on the second floor had her face pressed against the window and she just waved and waved.”
Knapp said one resident rolled her wheelchair over the window to watch the vigil pass by.
“My husband and I put our hands on the window and sang “Amazing Grace” and she cried,” Knapp said.
County health officials said they are continuing to monitor the situation at Pine Haven.