COVID outbreak continues at senior-living facility Avamere Court

Avamere Court is located on River Road in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson)

UPDATE: The OHA Weekly Outbreak Report released Sept. 6 shows that Avamere Court’s outbreak has grown to 59 total cases.

An active COVID outbreak at the senior-living facility Avamere Court at Keizer that began Aug. 8 has grown to 53 total cases and nearly doubled in size in the past two weeks. 

The outbreak was first reported by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Aug. 23 as only having infected five residents and staff members. On Sept. 15, three weeks after the first report, the total case count had risen to 29. The OHA Weekly Outbreak Report published last week now lists the outbreak as having infected 53 total residents and staff members. One resident’s death was also connected to the outbreak two weeks ago. 

Avamere Family of Companies provides assisted living, independent living, memory care, rehab and other care for seniors in 300 different locations across 20 states. 

In response to a list of written questions from the Keizertimes, Avamere officials said that the senior-living facility in Keizer had “active COVID-19 cases among 35 residents and 23 staff.”

Avamere officials did not respond to an email attempting to clarify if those 58 cases were cumulative, or if the 35 residents and 23 staff members currently had active cases. 

Facilities self-report their own data to OHA and the OHA Weekly Outbreak Report is released every Wednesday evening, after time to press. 

Avamere officials said after the outbreak began on Aug. 8, “positive residents were promptly identified and transferred to COVID-19 recovery units as part of a multi-pronged COVID-19 mitigation plan to ensure the highest quality and safety for all residents.”

A Department of Human Services inspection on Sept. 29, which found that Avamere Court was in compliance with COVID regulations, listed that there were a total of 17 residents in the nursing facility. The nursing facility has a total of 69 licensed beds.

According to OHA’s most recent report on vaccination rates in long-term health facilities, which was published on Sept. 8, about half of Avamere Court at Keizer’s staff is vaccinated. Staff in Avamere Court’s nursing facility have a vaccination rate of 56% and staff in the residential care facility have a vaccination rate of 45%.

Eighty percent of residents in the nursing facility are vaccinated and 95% of residents in the residential care facility are vaccinated. 

Avamere officials did not directly respond to questions about the facility’s vaccination rates, instead pointing to Marion County’s recent COVID surge. 

“The impact of COVID-19 in any congregate care setting is a reflection of what is happening at the local level, and this is even more apparent and challenging in the face of the highly transmissible Delta variant,” said Elizabeth Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Avamere Family of Companies. “Marion County is noted to have 60.4% of the population partially vaccinated, which is currently below the national average of 64.4%.”

The Department of Human Service website lists seven licensed long-term care facilities in Keizer. Four of those seven facilities are currently dealing with active outbreaks at their facility, with two of the facilities having total case counts of three and five. 

The other two outbreaks are Avamere Court and Bonaventure of Keizer Station. Bonaventure has an active outbreak that’s infected 29 people and is connected to the death of two residents.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.