Brewster, Massachusetts– In early April, Massachusetts introduced a new statewide COVID-19 testing program for residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities. This program provides safe, onsite sampling and timely test results. On April 10, Pleasant Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 383 South Orleans Road, Brewster, voluntarily participated in this testing program after several of their Nursing Center residents experienced COVID-19 symptoms. By April 20, following three rounds of testing, 60 of Pleasant Bay Nursing Center’s 92 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Only 5 of their residents remain untested.
Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, the licensing and enforcement agencies responsible for long-term care facilities, are actively involved in overseeing the response at Pleasant Bay. In addition, Cape Cod Healthcare and the Visiting Nurses Association are ensuring appropriate staffing and personal protective equipment are available to prevent further spread within their facilities and the community at large.
Brewster Town Administration and Health Department officials are working closely with the Visiting Nurses Association and state and county agencies to ensure that the residents and staff at Pleasant Bay have access to appropriate care and that precautions are taken to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Although state agencies license the facility and have authority over its management, Brewster town officials will continue to be engaged in monitoring the response to the cases identified at Pleasant Bay.
The Town of Brewster reported its first 2 cases of COVID-19 on March 21, 2020. Since additional testing for COVID-19 became available through the efforts of Cape Cod Healthcare and the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee, the number of positive cases in Brewster has gradually increased over the past month, consistent with the trend on Cape Cod. As of April 18, Brewster officials reported 32 positive cases. Including the 60 cases recently identified at the Pleasant Bay Nursing Center, Brewster now has 76 total cases. The town will continue to provide regular updates to its positive case totals.
Nursing homes across the U.S. are highly vulnerable to the coronavirus. On April 15, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced new funding and initiatives to support long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services launched a Nursing Home Family Resource hotline which can be reached by calling (617) 660-5399, 9AM to 5PM, 7 days a week. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call with questions and to be connected to available resources.