Covid retirement home cluster leaves 18 dead, 112 others infected
Tragedy struck the Sonneburgh retirement home in Rotterdam-Zuid when about two-thirds of the 145 residents became infected with the coronavirus, causing 18 known deaths within a matter of weeks. Some 80 current residents are now battling the viral infection, and another 32 employees also tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Sonneburgh's director, Henk Möhlmann describes the situation as “very sad” in an interview with broadcaster Rijnmond. Sonneburgh is working together with a team of the GGD to figure out the origin of the infection cluster.
The daughter of a resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that the virus spread through the ventilation system from a special ward created solely for coronavirus convalescence patients. “There was not a single infection in the center before the coronavirus unit came here.”
Möhlmann denies the allegations of the family member, linking the first infections back to somatic patients who were not treated in the special unit. The GGD says the outbreak could have begun in a number of different ways.
Residents who test positive are still being cared for in a special part of the facility. Caretakers are working in full protective gear and all residents have to self-isolate in their own rooms.
Sonneburgh provides support for the elderly who are, for the most part, able to live independently. Some of the residents do suffer from dementia which makes it difficult for workers to explain new rules. Furthermore, the family member interviewed by Rijnmond, notes caretakers are under intense work pressure due to the reduced number of staff.
"They are doing more than their best, working double shifts." According to her, temporary workers alleviate some of the workload, but are not able to provide the full care residents need. "It is practically a ghost town now. That is criminal," she says..
Möhlmann states that despite having had infections in a partner facility during the first peak, they never had to handle the likes of this outbreak before.