WESTMORELAND — Maplewood Nursing Home is expecting staffing assistance from the National Guard to arrive early this week, according to a Friday news release from the county.
Maplewood plans to train National Guard members and expects to have one member conduct COVID-19 screenings at the facility’s entrance. In a news release Thursday, County Administrator Chris Coates said that the National Guard members would be unable to assist with clinical needs.
“We are grateful to [the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services] with whom we’ve been working to request this for a few weeks now,” Coates said in the Friday release.
Two National Guard members will work in Maplewood’s dietary department, which lost staff due to a federal vaccine mandate for nursing-home workers, according to Kathryn Kindopp, the facility administrator. That department is responsible for preparing all meals, including food management and kitchen sanitation, she said.
Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified among residents of the Westmoreland nursing home on Friday, bringing the total number of people in the COVID-19 wing to seven, according to Friday’s release. Over the past two weeks, nine staff members had tested positive as well.
Testing for all residents and most staff will be conducted Monday, the release says.
Kindopp said Monday, however, that the National Guard assistance is unrelated to the current COVID-19 cases at Maplewood.
The county-run facility has been discussing that help with state health officials for several weeks, especially after Gov. Chris Sununu introduced a plan to move some coronavirus patients from hospitals into nursing homes, she said. National Guard members will help allay possible staffing issues due to the recent COVID-19 surge and limit viral spread at Maplewood, Kindopp said.
“Even if we find just one potential visitor that didn’t realize they were ill by doing a rapid test ... that could prevent one more way the virus gets into the facility,” she said.
Staff writer Caleb Symons contributed reporting.