An unvaccinated worker at a Springfield, OR, assisted living community triggered a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected at least 64 people and killed five residents.

The outbreak at Gateway Living, which has 105 employees and 101 residents, began July 5 when an unvaccinated employee reported to work while infectious, according to Lane County Public Health spokesman Jason Davis.  

According to The Register-Guard, 63% of staff members are fully vaccinated and 82% of residents are vaccinated. Approximately 60% of the coronavirus cases in the community are considered breakthrough cases, and seven people infected by the outbreak remained hospitalized as of Friday. Davis said most of the cases were among residents and that the health department worked with the community to ensure proper COVID-19 protocols and personal protective equipment was in place.

Gateway Living told KEZI that it has been battling this outbreak since July and still is working to control it. The most recent case at the community was reported a week ago. The community posted a note on its website indicating that the Oregon Health Authority issued a directive to all long-term care facilities to restrict visitation to all residents under most circumstances.

The Board of Health of Lane County, where Gateway Living is located, issued an emergency public health advisory on Aug. 10 calling on all individuals, businesses and employers to take immediate action on masking and other personal protective measures against the delta variant.

The action was taken after confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold of high transmission by more than 2.5 times and the number of hospitalizations exceeded those during the winter surge. The resolution also called for social distancing and good hand hygiene. 

The Oregon Department of Human Services has posted a list of long-term care facilities with restricted admission due to COVID-19 as of Aug. 27.

Gateway Living had not responded to requests for comment from McKnight’s Senior Living prior to the production deadline.