The coronavirus outbreak at the Actors Fund Home in New Jersey appears to be leveling off. “Even though Bergen and Essex Counties are the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey, the fund may have weathered the worst of it, at least for now,” said Joe Benincasa, president and CEO of the Actors Fund, on Friday.
There have been no new deaths of retirees at the home since Tuesday and “fewer residents are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19,” said Jordan Strohl, the home’s administrator, “which has led to fewer residents requiring isolation and testing. We have not lost anymore residents to COVID-19, and the total number of residents that have passed away remains at 10.”
With more than 100 residents, the retirement home in Englewood, NJ, currently has eight residents who have tested positive for the virus, 18 who have tested negative, and one resident whose test results are pending.
“I am also happy to report that two more residents graduated from our COVID-19 section of our Subacute unit,” Strohl said in a message to friends and families of residents. “And on our Long Term Care side, we also have been able to graduate two more residents from the second internal COVID-19 unit, for a total of 7 residents. Overall, we have 15 residents that have been cured and have beat this terrible virus.”
“The good news continues,” he said, “in the Assisted Living & Memory Care sections of the facility, as they remain free from COVID-19. There is no doubt that the mitigation efforts, including isolation and keeping residents in their rooms, have been effective.”
Nursing homes around the country have been especially hard-bit by the virus.
“In terms of staffing, things also continue to improve as more members of the team continue to return to work who have been out due to COVID-19,” he said. “I am also happy to continue to report that we have plenty of PPE for our staff, even though we are using a lot. The Actors Fund team continues to battle this terrible virus and I want to remind all of you that we are here for you. Over the weekend, I will be joined by almost every department head and supervisor. We will be here to address your questions and concerns.”
Besides the retirement home, the Actors Fund also has affordable housing residences in Manhattan, Brooklyn and West Hollywood. Residents there “are doing well,” Benincasa said. “In West Hollywood, Palm View residents are good and our most recent renovation is almost completed, with just exterior work left to do.” The fund expect to break ground this fall for its Hollywood Arts Collective, a mixed-use, affordable housing community intended for artists.
The Actors Fund is also at the forefront of assisting members of the entertainment industry who have been impacted by the pandemic. Its COVID-19 relief fund has already provided $6.5 million in direct financial assistance to 5,423 people industry workers of all stripes – not just actors.
“We’ve received support and revenue of just over $20 million restricted to COVID-19 assistance,” Benincasa said. “We anticipate providing up to $27 million by mid-June. Helping people with the basics is Act 1 for us; helping them move forward in navigating government support, sustaining or securing health insurance and how to secure work in new economy is Act 2.”
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