Meadow Lakes retirement community readjusts procedures amongst COVID crisis

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The number of East Windsor and Hightstown residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 has continued its upward climb, according to results released by the New Jersey Department of Health.

In East Windsor, 311 residents were confirmed to have the disease and 81 Hightstown residents tested positive for it as of April 21, officials said. That compares to 258 East Windsor residents and 53 Hightstown residents on April 14.

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The East Windsor and Hightstown residents are among 2,845 Mercer County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 22, officials said. Municipal data lags behind state data.

With the exception of the deaths of two residents at the Meadow Lakes retirement community in East Windsor, it is not known how many of the 145 Mercer County residents who had died of COVID-19 through April 22 lived in East Windsor or Hightstown.

The New Jersey Department of Health has begun releasing the number of positive tests for COVID-19 and the number of deaths that are suspected to be related to COVID-19 which have occurred in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

A note on the New Jersey Department of Health’s website qualifies the number of reported deaths in those facilities.

“Deaths (in long-term care facilities) include COVID-positive deaths, deaths in persons with pending test results, and respiratory illnesses for which COVID testing was not performed. The cases are self-reported by facilities at a point in time and may not reflect real-time data,” the note said.

In response to COVID-19 concerns, Meadow Lakes banned non-essential visitors earlier this month. Staff members and essential employees are screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, which includes taking their temperature with a no-touch thermometer and asking about symptoms or potential exposure.

Meadow Lakes has banned congregate dining in the dining room, so residents take their meals in their apartment or room. All common areas and shared facilities are cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day. Personal protective equipment is provided to employees who provide direct care to residents.

Residents’ apartments are entered only for emergency medical, maintenance or sanitation purposes. Social visits by employees and routine maintenance and housekeeping services have been eliminated, according to Meadow Lakes administrators.

Meadow Lakes is a continuing care retirement community that offers varying levels of assistance to its residents. It offers options from independent living to assisted living, a memory care unit, a skilled nursing home and physical rehabilitation. It is operated by Springpoint Senior Living, formerly known as Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the growing number of Mercer County residents whose tests for COVID-19 are positive is not unexpected, county officials said. As more testing sites open, the number of persons who are known to be infected will increase.

Mercer County opened an appointment only, drive-through testing site March 31 in a parking lot at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township. A physician’s prescription is needed to secure a test.

The testing site, which is restricted to county residents, is a collaborative effort between Mercer County and several county hospitals. The turnaround time for test results is 48 to 72 hours.

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