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Festus nursing home now has more than 80 COVID-19 cases

On Saturday, the facility said it had 40 cases. Two days later, the numbers have more than doubled

FESTUS, Mo. — Sixty-two residents and 20 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at Festus Manor Care Center in Jefferson County, the county's health department said Monday.

The number of cases at the facility has more than doubled since Saturday, and include one death at the facility, a woman in her 80s.

"The facility is taking aggressive defensive measures against the virus," said Jeanne Dirschuweit, administrator at Festus Manor. “The facility is being divided into sections of 'well' and COVID-19 positive residents to prevent spread. Each hall has a dedicated staff and separate staff dressing rooms and meal areas. Additionally, to drastically eliminate chances of exposure through outside contact, housing has been offered to all employees during this time.”

The facility first reported cases on April 13 when it confirmed six residents had tested positive.

Senior care facilities across the country have seen outbreaks. On Monday, federal officials called nursing homes "ground zero" of the coronavirus crisis and said they plan to start tracking and publicly sharing information on infections and deaths in such facilities to help spot trends and early signs the virus is spreading in communities.

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In the St. Louis area, facilities in St. Charles County, St. Louis and Franklin County also have seen outbreaks.

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