Eight more COVID-19 cases found at Anchorage Pioneer Home

Flowers of different colors in front of the beige Anchorage Pioneer Home buildgin
The Anchorage Pioneer Home in July 2020 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Pioneer Home has more COVID-19 cases. Another employee and seven elders have tested positive for the virus.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced the new cases on Wednesday, a week after it identified the first four COVID-19 infections at the assisted-living home in downtown Anchorage. 

In total, there are now 12 known cases linked to the Anchorage Pioneer Home, 10 are residents and two are employees, according to the health department. 

All but one of the residents who tested positive live in the same “neighborhood” within the home, the department said.

The department says all residents who tested positive are in isolation in the facility and none have been hospitalized. All infected employees are isolating themselves at their homes.

The Anchorage Pioneer Home serves Alaskans age 65 and older, and has capacity for 168 residents. It closed to visitors in mid-March.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said in a statement that it’s very concerning when the virus makes its way into vulnerable populations, “which is why I appreciate the swift and responsive actions taken at the home to ensure all affected residents and staff are receiving proper care and monitoring.” 

Across the country, nursing homes have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is particularly deadly among older people with underlying medical conditions, and it can spread more easily in areas where people live in a confined space.

The state health department says the Anchorage Pioneer Home continues to sanitize residents’ rooms and common areas every day. It says weekly testing of residents and staff will also continue. 

Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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