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Lancaster nursing home becomes area's second Covid-19 only facility

The McGuire Group confirmed Wednesday that it has converted its Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Lancaster into a residence for patients who have Covid-19.

Any Harris Hill residents who did not have Covid-19 were transferred to other McGuire nursing homes in Erie County where there was no evidence of coronavirus, company spokeswoman Dawn Harsch told The Buffalo News.

Any residents in the other five McGuire nursing homes who have Covid-19 were sent to Harris Hill, she said.

Harris Hill, a five-star rated facility with 192 beds on Wehrle Drive, is now the second nursing home in Erie County dedicated to caring for residents with Covid-19.

In mid-April, McGuire collaborated with Catholic Health to open a Covid-19 only nursing facility inside a former Absolut nursing home in Orchard Park that had been closed since last October. That facility opened April 12 with 80 beds.

The News first inquired on May 13 about whether Harris Hill was becoming a Covid-19 only facility, following a tip from a reader who also said that families of residents were not being properly notified of transfers.

Harsch said at the time she could not confirm whether that was happening because “a number of logistical items are in flux.”

But in a statement released Wednesday afternoon in an email, Harsch said McGuire was transferring all Covid-19-positive residents from its other facilities to Harris Hill, as part of an effort to meet a new state regulation prohibiting hospitals from discharging Covid-19 patients to nursing facilities.

Harsch said that family members were notified of the moves “and expressed gratitude for our proactive stance.”

Through Tuesday, Harris Hill had 21 residents who died at the nursing home from Covid-19, and two more residents whose deaths were presumed to have been from coronavirus, according to the New York State Health Department. Only Father Baker Manor in Orchard Park and Absolut Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in East Aurora had more Covid-19 deaths among nursing homes in Erie County.

McGuire officials revealed in mid-April that 46 residents at Harris Hill were infected with coronavirus, as well as 42 residents at Garden Gate Manor in Cheektowaga and 23 at Seneca Health Center in West Seneca.

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