Written by The Sun Staff for The Sun Community News on August 28, 2020

ELIZABETHTOWN | After meeting with local elected leaders and families of loved ones at the Essex Center, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik brought federal resources to the region Friday to help advise on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Federal personnel from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services visited the Essex Center Friday to assess steps being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the facility’s case numbers continued to climb late this week.

Members of the federal agency’s Quality Improvement Organization team had previously been in contact with the Essex Center to discuss the evolving situation and steps being taken to protect nursing home residents and staff.

The Medicare and Medicaid Services personnel provided direct technical assistance during their on-site observation Friday, including tours and interacting with staff on all three clinical units and the facility’s kitchen.

Stefanik said she has been closely monitoring the situation and in contact with elected officials in Essex County as they try to manage the outbreak.

“After working with local Essex County elected officials and families regarding the Essex Center COVID-19 outbreak, I immediately advocated for federal assistance from CMS,” Stefanik said later Friday.

“Ensuring the safety of our seniors in nursing homes has been a top priority over the last several months. This latest outbreak is deeply concerning, and I will continue to work to get families answers on how this happened and how it can be prevented going forward.”

She applauded the federal agency’s swift action and said “I’m very grateful to CMS for answering my call to action and responding so quickly to work with the Essex Center, and my prayers are with all of the seniors and families affected by the Essex Center outbreak.”

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