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88 at Genesis Loch Raven Center test positive for the coronavirus as it prepares to serve as a hospital overflow unit

As of Friday, six residents and two staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Genesis Loch Raven Center, a nursing home on Emge Road in Parkville.
As of Friday, six residents and two staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Genesis Loch Raven Center, a nursing home on Emge Road in Parkville. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

A total of 70 residents and 18 staff members at Genesis Loch Raven Center in Parkville have tested positive for the coronavirus, now that the operator has tested everyone, a Genesis HealthCare spokeswoman said Friday.

Four residents have died from complications related to the COVID-19 illness since the center first announced the outbreak in early April.

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The post-hospital rehabilitation and long-term care facility will begin providing overflow capacity for overcrowded hospitals beginning Monday.

“We’re in full support of the ... multiple hospital systems who are asking for our assistance,” said Lori Mayer, the spokeswoman for Genesis HealthCare.

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Patients recovering from COVID-19 who need post-acute care will be transferred to the 113-bed facility on Emge Road off of Joppa Road. Mayer said the facility has been authorized by the Maryland Department of Health and Baltimore County Department of Health to house patients from hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Availability of personal protective equipment will be the “guiding factor” on the admission of new patients, Mayer said in an email.

Mayer did not say how many patients initially will be transferred. She added the facility is not currently receiving reimbursement for the added cost of housing new patients.

“We believe it’s the right thing to do,” she said, but “it is very costly to do a move like this."

Of the nursing home’s 92 residents, those who have tested negative will be transferred to another Genesis facility in Baltimore County designated as the health care provider’s “COVID negative” building, where they will be quarantined for 14 days, Mayer said.

Patients transferred to the Loch Raven Center will be discharged to their homes or transferred to nearby Genesis facilities once they test negative for COVID-19.

The 21234 ZIP code in Parkville that includes Loch Raven Center has the second-highest concentration of coronavirus cases in Baltimore County, with 136 confirmed cases Friday, according to state ZIP code data.

Residents at Loch Raven Center confirmed to have contracted the virus make up more than half of those cases.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, whose district encompasses Parkville, said he was not made aware of the nursing home’s use for hospital overflow and was concerned about an influx of coronavirus patients to Parkville given the facility’s location near residential neighborhoods.

“I trust the judgment of the medical professionals and those who are dealing with the coronavirus,” Marks said, “but on the other hand there needs to be better communication with the County Council members and the neighborhoods they represent.”

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