Twenty-one residents have died from COVID-19 at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home and the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation senior living facility in Longmeadow, part of the JGS Lifecare health care system, the facility announced in a letter late Friday night.
Another 93 residents and 43 staff members tested positive for the virus, with over half of the 180 residents and 84 staff tested.
All residents at the facility are currently under quarantine, according to the letter, and a universal mask and gown policy has been implemented for staff. Many of those who tested positive are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.
JGS Lifecare had begun taking "aggressive" preventative measures to avoid such an outbreak at its facilities weeks ago, the letter says, working with the state Department of Public Health.
But despite creating an isolated unit for COVID-19 patient care and monitoring residents and staff daily for symptoms, the virus spread rapidly through the facility. In the letter, JGS Lifecare leaders said this was due to "limited access to testing and overly restrictive criteria to test."
"We now understand how pervasive the virus in our surrounding communities has become due to how swift and silent its spread has been," they wrote. "Never in the 108-year history of JGS Lifecare have we faced a situation like this one."
Long-term care facilities in Massachusetts account for almost half of the state's deaths from COVID-19 — 306 of 686 — and over 2,500 of its 22,860 reported cases, according to figures released by the state Department of Public Health Saturday.
This article was originally published on April 11, 2020.