‘Well-Loved' Social Worker at Chelmsford Nursing Home Dies of Coronavirus

The social worker and 29 residents have died after a coronavirus outbreak at the facility

A social worker who reportedly worked for 10 straight days is among the 30 dead at a Chelmsford, Massachusetts nursing home that has become a hot spot for the novel coronavirus.

The Palm Center said in a statement that its director of social services had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, saying she was a beloved member of the community.

"She was a well-loved colleague of more than 20 years and the entire community is mourning her loss, along with many residents who were also taken by this terrible virus," said Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer of Genesis HealthCare, which operates the facility.

The Boston Globe reports that the social worker -- who the paper identified as Catherine Drouin, 69 of Methuen -- worked for 10 days straight while the disease spread across the state.

As of Monday, 53 residents and 46 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 29 residents had died, according to Feifer.

"At Palm Center, we are all family. Day in and day out, our employees are true heroes as they put their own safety at risk for their patients and residents who they truly love," he said.

The facility "diligently followed," and in many cases went beyond, guidance and protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with regard to the coronavirus crisis, Feifer said.

Palm Center continues to follow the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health "to the letter" in an effort to contain and minimize the spread of the virus, Feifer wrote.

As part of a statewide effort implemented by Gov. Charlie Baker to mobilize testing at long-term care facilities, the National Guard was on site testing all of the residents and employees.

Palm Center has been wearing full PPE since March 26, 2020 - ahead of CMS guidelines which were released on April 2, 2020.

"I can assure you that we are working round the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible," Feifer said. "We are doing everything in our power – and everything medical experts know as of at this time – to protect our patients, residents and employees."

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