Denton nursing home experiencing COVID-19 outbreak: Almost half of residents test positive, none hospitalized


DENTON, Md. – Caroline County Health Department officials say 32 of the 68 residents at a nursing home in Denton, along with 18 staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Linda Bollinger says her mother is a resident there and the first she heard of the outbreak was last Thursday, August 27. “Yes it is a little unnerving and scary,” she says. “The first notice I received was by a text message and it said they had one case.”

A department spokesperson says they were notified on August 29, that three residents and one employee of the Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had tested positive for coronavirus.

Bollinger says by Thursday, September 3, she was told the number of cases had gone up and 14 residents were positive, all asymptomatic. But the county health department says they received additional test results on September 3, which show a total of 32 residents and 18 staff members of the facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

Bollinger told 47 ABC on Friday, September 4,”I have not heard anything from them now that there are so many cases that this outbreak has become so big so I am a little disappointed by that.”

Officials said Friday afternoon, on September 4, that they are retesting 10 people who previously tested negative but had close contact with people who are positive. So as of this moment, they are back up to having 10 tests pending. Luckily, no residents are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19.

“It just seems like when they know the elderly are the most susceptible to this virus that there should be more frequent testing and quicker come back with the results,” says Bollinger.

47 ABC reached out to the facility and they say they’re working hard to notify all families by text, calls and letters along with getting more PPE. They also say they are working closely with the health department to give the best care to residents and employees.

Authorities say the positive cases were identified through the routine weekly testing of all residents and staff that is required by the Maryland Department of Health for nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

“The Caroline County Health Department has been working closely with the medical and administrative staff at the Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to respond to the outbreak since being informed of the first positive test results over the weekend.”

On September 3, Health Department staff, including Interim Acting Health Officer Roger Harrell, Medical Director Dr. Leland Spencer, and Director of Nursing Laura Patrick conducted an onsite inspection of the facility. They were joined by Dr. Jeffrey Woolford, Director of Community and Facility Initiatives for the Maryland Department of Health. Dr. Woolford is the State health official responsible for leading all nonregulatory COVID-19 matters involving nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and other congregate living settings.

After the inspection, Harrell reported that the Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is taking steps to isolate COVID-19 positive patients and ensure proper infection control procedures.”The staff at the facility has been transparent and cooperative,” says Harrell. “Obviously we are deeply concerned about an outbreak in a facility that is home to such medically fragile residents. The local Health Department and Maryland Department of Health are committed to doing everything possible to assist the Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center with controlling the outbreak and taking care of their residents.”

The Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which according to the Maryland Health Care Commission has 87 licensed beds, is owned by Axis Health at Caroline Opco LLC. The Health Department reports that the facility currently has 68 residents.

Maryland State officials say, “The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) deployed a technical assistance mitigation team immediately to the site of the outbreak. The team consisted of public health officials, including three registered nurses, who assisted with educating the facility on infection control and also served as a bridging team to supplement staff during their recovery. This is precisely what the technical teams were designed to do. MDH will continue to assist and closely monitor the situation. We will deploy additional support as needed to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak at this facility.”

Categories: Local News, Maryland