Seven COVID- 19 deaths now reported at Wichita assisted living center

By Mary Clarkin & The Active Age | May 14, 2020

The concentration of COVID-19 fatalities in one Wichita long-term care center is greater than previously reported.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Chisholm Place, 1859 N. Webb Rd., said seven of its residents have died of the virus.

When Sedgwick County announced April 29 that Chisholm Place was the second COVID-19 cluster site at a long-term care facility, it reported two residents had died and a combined total of 36 residents and staff had tested positive.

On Tuesday, Laura Kislowski, vice president of sales and marketing for Anthem Memory Care, Lake Oswego, Oregon, emailed an update on Chisholm Place to The Active Age.

A total of 46 people – 34 residents and 12 staff – have tested positive for COVID-19. All but four staff members have returned to work this week. No new cases have been diagnosed in the last week, Kislowski wrote.

A retesting of residents who had tested positive has begun, to determine how many are now COVID-19 negative and have recovered.

Chisholm Place is a for-profit 66-bed licensed facility that operates in a stand-alone building near other buildings housing medical-related services.

They do not know how the virus entered Chisholm Place, Kislowski said.

About three-fourths of the 20 COVID-19 deaths in Sedgwick County stem from three long-term care locations.  “You’re talking about a very high-risk population,” said Sedgwick County Health Department Director Adrienne Byrne.

Citing state statute on infectious disease and confidentiality, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is not releasing names of long-term facilities that have had positive cases and/or deaths. It provides only overall COVID-19 statistics from the cluster sites in that category.

Byrne said Sedgwick County asked each nursing facility here that had a virus outbreak to participate in a press release that disclosed the name and numbers. All three said yes. However, only Clearwater agreed to updates, Byrne said. That’s why Sedgwick County has not posted a followup press release to the April 29 announcement of two deaths at Chisholm Place.

Clearwater was the first long-term facility designated a COVID-19 cluster in Sedgwick County. A cluster is at least two positive cases not in the same household, occurring in a certain time frame and place, according to Byrne.

As of the latest update May 8, Clearwater reported eight resident deaths and 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff.

The Manor Nursing Home at Park West Plaza Retirement Community, 503 N. Maize Rd. had one resident death, seven positive cases among residents, and two positive cases among staff, according to a May 4 press release from Sedgwick County. Park West did not respond to The Active Age’s requests for an update.

Mary Clarkin is a freelance reporter for The Active Age. This article is part of COVID-19 coverage by members of the Wichita Journalism Collaborative.