NEWTON, MA — The number of people who have died at The Falls at Cordingly Dam assisted living facility in Newton rose to 15 on Monday, the city announced. In addition, 31 other residents and 24 employees have also tested positive.
The number of people who tested positive for the new coronavirus across Newton Monday rose to 330 people with nearly half of those coming from long-term care facilities in the city.
On Saturday, Newton had 316 cases.
The senior living facility found out on March 28 that one of its residents had tested positive for the coronavirus, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Then, on April 6 the city announced that there had been more than one death related to the coronavirus at The Falls. The next day, a spokesperson at The Falls confirmed that five residents had passed.
The city said the Newton Health and Human Services Department was following the 46 residents who have tested positive at The Falls, including the 15 who died, and working closely with the facility.
Approximately 90 residents live at the Falls and about 100 people work at the facility, according to a spokesperson at assisted living facility, which is owned by Benchmark Senior Living.
The spokesperson said staff notified the family of residents who tested positive or have had exposure to someone who has, and are committed to updating them.
These cases highlight an increasing struggle among vulnerable populations who are older or have underlying health conditions and live in close proximity. Nursing homes, soldiers' homes and assisted living centers across the state, including most recently in Chelmsford, Holyoke and Chelsea have called in the National Guard to aid with testing and mitigation efforts.
In March, when the governor declared a state of emergency, he restricted visitors to nursing home facilities. The company that runs the Falls began restricting visitors and screening healthcare providers early on they said. The company also eliminated large group activities, including programming and dining.
According to a statement on its website, Benchmark Senior Living said they required associates and staff who test positive have had direct exposure to anyone who has tested positive or has symptoms to stay home on paid leave. They take the temperature of associate before shift, and have increased sanitization regime.
"This is a devastating time for the families and loved ones of those who have fallen ill and have died as well as those who are worried for loved ones," said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller in a statement. "Together we share our deepest sympathies and continue our efforts as a whole community to fight this fight."