More than 70 affected in Nazareth coronavirus outbreak


By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

An Oakville senior-living facility is one of the nursing homes in the state hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with an outbreak affecting more than 70 residents and staff members.

Nazareth Living Center told television station KSDK that 55 residents and 16 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Those numbers were as of May 12. Contacted by The Call, representatives of the facility had not yet returned requests for comment at press time.

The retirement center is in close contact with state and local officials and its ownership’s Benedictine COVID-19 Task Force about the outbreak, according to the report. Data released by the state shows 46 “congregate living homes” with outbreaks of COVID-19 in St. Louis County, out of the 174 total long-term care homes that the county identifies. St. Louis city has 11 outbreaks. An outbreak is defined as more than two people getting the virus.

The state is not naming which facilities have had outbreaks, however. The Call has identified at least one other South County outbreak at a group home, with two deaths out of at least 19 infections at the South County Habilitation Center, a state-run home for the developmentally disabled.

But it was unclear whether the state list included the numbers from the habilitation center outbreak.

Nazareth has separated a special unit inside its building to house patients who have tested positive, with dedicated staff who volunteered to be on the unit and are given personal protective equipment. That unit has a separate entrance for staff and supplies to try to prevent more cases.

A hotline has been set up for family members of residents who wish to receive updates. The number is 314-207-6180.

In a statement, KSDK reported that Nazareth said, “Be assured, we are doing everything we can to stop the spread of this virus and have implemented all measures recommended by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and our state and local health departments.”

St. Louis County has a volunteer “High Risk Task Force” of doctors and nurses who are sent “at a moment’s notice” into nursing homes that have had an outbreak, providing advice, personal protective equipment, testing and deep cleaning within 24 hours of an identified outbreak, County Executive Sam Page said.

The county has provided more than 20,000 masks to those facilities and provided them with guidance months ago on how to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“No one is safe from a COVID-19 infection,” Page said. “Our nursing homes across the country and in St. Louis County have been hit particularly hard…. We’re still seeing some increase in cases coming from our nursing facilities.”