OTTERBEIN UPDATE: Three more residents have died

Officials at a Franklin senior care facility where a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred said Monday three more of its residents have died, bringing its virus death toll to four. 

Three residents between the ages of 76 and 94 died Friday and Saturday. All three—two men and a woman—tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and all three suffered from other health conditions. Two had been hospitalized, according to a news release from Otterbein Franklin SeniorLife Community. 

“As a senior health care provider, we deal with the passing of residents frequently — it is the nature of the calling we have undertaken. In each and every case, our hearts and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those who pass," said Rob Newcomer, Otterbein Franklin’s executive director.

As of Monday, 22 residents and 17 employees tested positive for the virus, including the four residents who died, according to the news release. Fifty residents and 54 employees have been tested, the news release said. 

One Otterbein resident remained hospitalized. One Otterbein employee was also hospitalized; the other 16 are self-isolating at their homes, according to the news release. 

Eight test results were pending Monday—four residents and four employees, the news release said. Fifty-seven tests came back negative. 

All Otterbein employees and health care contractors have the opportunity to get tested through a partnership with Eli Lilly, which is offering tests to health care workers. Otterbein has asked all of its employees to get tested, said David Sease, a spokesperson for Otterbein Franklin. 

The outbreak originated two weeks ago when a therapist was admitted to the hospital and tested positive. Otterbein Franklin has more than 500 residents, 165 of whom are in the nursing home where the outbreak has occurred, and about 300 employees.

“Effective this morning, no other Otterbein location (16 in Ohio) has experienced a positive test for either a resident or (employee)," said Gary Horning, Otterbein SeniorLife’s vice president of marketing and communications.

"With both Ohio and Indiana weeks from the projected peak, Otterbein will ultimately have positive tests at most, if not all locations. It is important to note all locations, including Otterbein Franklin, have engaged extensive precautionary measures and Otterbein Franklin has done nothing wrong. This insidious virus just invaded us there first.”

Local health officials on Monday reported 209 positive COVID-19 cases. Seven Johnson County residents, all over the age of 75, have died, said Betsy Swearingen, director of the Johnson County Health Department.

The Indiana State Department of Health on Monday said the number of presumptive positive cases for COVID-19 in the state has risen to 4,944 after the emergence of 533 more cases.

The daily increase was the largest the state had reported so far during the outbreak. The department reported the state’s first case on March 6.

The death toll in the state rose to 139, up from 127 the previous day.

The department reported that 26,191 people have been tested so far, up from 22,652 in Sunday’s report. The ISDH said the test numbers reflect only those tests reported to the department and the numbers should not be characterized as a comprehensive total.

Indianapolis reported 1,956 cases—up from 1,760 cases from the previous day—with 41 deaths. The state said 9,503 people have been tested in the city.

Counties in the Indianapolis area have reported at least 37 cases each. Only two of Indiana’s 92 counties have not reported cases.

Health officials say Indiana has far more coronavirus cases—possibly thousands more—than those indicated by the number of tests.

As of Monday morning, 337,971 cases had been reported in the United States, with 9,654 deaths, according to a running tally maintained by health researchers at Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. More than 17,500 people have recovered.

Nearly 1.29 million cases have been reported globally, with 70,590 deaths. More than 270,200 people have recovered.

The Indianapolis Business Journal contributed to this report.