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Corning Nursing Home Announces Four Deaths

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — A COVID-19 outbreak at Corning Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Corning has led to the death of four residents as of Tuesday.

According to the nursing home’s website, the four deaths occurred between Sept. 22 and Sept. 29. The deaths at Corning Center were listed in the state's count of COVID-related fatalities at nursing homes and adult care facilities as of Monday.

According to the Long Term Care Community Coalition, which tracks New York's COVID-related nursing home deaths, the county saw an increase of four deaths over the last 14 days.

The Corning Center declined to comment.

It’s unclear when the deaths were reported to Steuben County Public Health officials. Steuben officials did not immediately respond to WSKG's request for comment.

Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler and Steuben Public Health Director Darlene Smith announced an uptick in cases at the nursing home Tuesday afternoon. At that point, there were 51 cases among Corning Center residents and 25 among staff.

Smith said the nursing home found its first confirmed case of the virus since the start of the pandemic on Sept. 3. While a New York State Department of Health assessment of the facility’s infection control protocols last week found no red flags, Smith said, cases still continued to rise.

“Then that really does come back to who’s coming into the nursing home, between staff and what few visitors,” she noted.

According to Smith, visitors were allowed into the facility for a two-week period before cases climbed after Labor Day Weekend.

As of Tuesday evening, Steuben County had 136 active cases, up from 79 cases on Friday.

Neighboring Chemung County has also seen a rise in cases. The county reported 88 active cases as of Tuesday morning. More than 70 cases have been linked to the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Horseheads.

Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said only two cases in the county have been traced back to the church so far, but the links between Chemung and Steuben counties go far beyond that cluster.

“There’s so much interplay between our two counties,” Wheeler said. “We have so many residents who live in Steuben and work in Chemung or the other way, and so much travel in between.”

Wheeler thanked Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss for his partnership in efforts to contain the spread of the virus. He said county officials are in touch on an hourly basis and are working to find regional solutions.

Earlier this week, the state announced it will deploy rapid testing machines, which can calculate results in 15 minutes, to help contain the spike in cases in Broome County. Meanwhile, Wheeler said Steuben County is working with the governor’s office and the neighboring counties to expand COVID-19 testing.