TALLMADGE – More than two-thirds of the residents at Colony Healthcare Center have tested positive for COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus.

Fifty-two residents and seven staff members at the Tallmadge nursing home have tested positive as of last week out of about 75 residents and 75 staff members, according to Colony spokesman Fred Stratmann. At least three patients have been hospitalized since mid-March.

"It’s important to note that almost half of the positive tested residents had no symptoms at all," he said. 

"We made the decision for whole-house testing when we saw an increase in residents who were positive," he added. "That’s important to do to make sure we had a full idea of the scope of COVID-19 in the colony."

The information would help nursing home administrators determine the best way to treat the virus patients and contain it, he said.

Isolation procedures have been established in the building. Walled off units have a double plastic barrier at the end of each unit, he said. In addition, they have isolated the heating and ventilating system, created a negative pressure environment in every room and established decontamination areas.

To prevent cross-contamination, designated staff work exclusively in the isolation units with equipment dedicated to that area, he said. Even laundry is separate from the rest of the facility.

Stratmann said they were surprised by so many positive tests.

"So many were not symptomatic," he said. "Nursing home were ahead of the curve with social distancing and isolation."

Starting on March 3, anyone who had symptoms was not allowed in the building, he said.

"We stopped family visitation March 10 in all our facilities with the goal to prevent COVID-19 from coming in," Stratmann said. "Families largely understand."

Once the virus is on the decline or an immunization is found, lessons can be learned from the experience, he said.

"Once we get through it, then it will be time to do an analysis and learn how operations should change," Stratmann said.

Colony Healthcare Center is at 563 Colony Park Drive.

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com