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90 residents, 23 employees test positive for coronavirus in Charles Co. nursing homes

The cases are spread out among six nursing homes and senior living facilities

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — More than 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 across six nursing homes in Charles County, Maryland.

The Charles County Department of Health announced Friday that 90 nursing home residents and 23 employees have coronavirus, saying they are working closely with state health officials and the nursing homes to ensure that vulnerable residents get proper care and treatment.

Thirteen people in Charles County have died after contracting the virus as of April 17, but it is not known if any of those 13 are from nursing homes specifically. 

Another county in the state -- Carroll County -- announced that 24 people have died from COVID-19 at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mt. Airy. An additional 121 residents tested positive for the virus thus far.

A report from the Associated Press released earlier this month said screenings in nursing homes were failing to adequately catch people who were asymptomatic, allowing infections to continue to spread inside the facilities from workers inside.

Gov. Hogan's Strike Teams

On April 7, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the implementation of "strike teams" in the state -- made up from National Guard and state and local health officials -- to help respond quickly to nursing homes and provide support to overburdened facilities.

Maryland is among the first in the nation to create strike teams.

There will be three different types of strike teams: testing teams, assistance teams to determine equipment and triage needs for residents, and clinical teams to include doctors, nurses, to provide care and avoid unnecessary transport to hospitals.

On April 10, Gov. Hogan announced the strike teams have already responded to nine nursing homes in the state, as well as 15 group homes to "medically fragile children."

WATCH: Here's a breakdown of how the Maryland strike teams plan on assisting

Who is overseeing the response in Charles County?

Dr. Howard Haft, who is the Executive Director of the Maryland Primary Care Program at the Maryland Department of Health, has been temporarily assigned to oversee the COVID-19 response in Charles County.

In a press release from the county health department Friday, Haft wrote about the importance of testing those in the nursing home population and called it a "top priority" for state health officials.

“Just as we have seen across the state and the country, our nursing home population is at high risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus," Dr. Haft said.

“We understand the heightened concern of those who have loved ones in these facilities. I want to assure them that through testing, we are identifying patients and staff, both with and without symptoms, so we can do whatever is necessary to prevent the spread of this virus. We know is especially hard to contain COVID-19 in nursing facilities and that’s why it’s a top priority right now.”

RELATED: Letter details safety protocols in Pleasant View Nursing Home where 24 residents have died

RELATED: Another Virginia retirement community reports coronavirus cases as officials work to prevent more deaths

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