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Ten more COVID-19 cases at state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center

Ten more patients at the Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Alabama Department of Mental Health spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert in a message to APR on Tuesday said there were 18 confirmed cases of the virus at the facility, which cares for elderly patients who are at more risk of serious complications and death from COVID-19. 

Two nurses at the facility have also tested positive for the virus, Valdes-Hubert said on Friday. 

The department began widespread testing at the Mary Starke Harper facility on Friday following the sixth confirmed case among residents. 

In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, ADMH stopped new admissions and visitations to the state’s three mental health facilities in mid-March.

Staff are being checked for elevated temperatures and screened for other symptoms at the start of each shift, Valdes-Hubert said Friday. 

“Any person found with symptoms is quarantined until a negative test is returned. All staff wear FDA approved masks. We are stocked well with PPE,” Valdes-Hubert said Friday.  

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There were no confirmed coronavirus cases at ADMH’s other facilities in Tuscaloosa, Bryce Hospital and the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility as of Monday, Valdes-Hubert said.

More than 2,000 long-term care residents and workers in Alabama have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

As of Monday at least 1,217 long-term care residents and 799 employees have contracted the virus.

It’s harder to know how many of those long-term care residents have died from COVID-19, because ADPH doesn’t regularly release that data, or which state facilities have confirmed cases, as ADPH hasn’t released that information, citing privacy concerns.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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