(July 14, 2020) In our web post dated July 8, 2020 we shared news of our first staff positive case of COVID-19 at the nursing home. We immediately conducted an Exposure Risk Assessment and began testing of many residents and staff. We ended up testing about 70 people. We received those results today. One additional positive case in a resident of the nursing home was identified. The staff member is recovering at home and the resident (currently asymptomatic) is recovering in our designated COVID-19 unit.
Our COVID-19 unit was set up several months ago and is designed to care for residents with confirmed positive COVID-19. This unit is completely separated from the rest of the building, has negative air pressure, and is staffed with designated staff who will only work on that unit.
We are taking all precautions to stop the spread of this virus, and we are actively working in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking all appropriate steps at this time.
Wide-Spread Testing. Because we now have a positive case identified in a resident, it is necessary to implement Point Prevalence Survey testing once again. This means we will be testing all nursing home residents and staff weekly until we have two consecutive weeks of no new positive cases identified. Wide-spread testing will give us the best picture of the scope and magnitude of what we are dealing with.
Ongoing Communication/Situation Update. Being transparent and upfront with residents, their families, and staff is important to us. To manage this efficiently and effectively going forward, here is a general outline of our communication plan:
- Personal Phone Call. Families of any resident who tests positive will receive a personal phone call from staff.
- Website. For situation updates, we will use our website to communicate current active cases in residents and staff, by location. You may view this update here.
- Phone System. As an alternative to our website, we have created a message center on our phone system with a pre-recorded situational update message. Call 218-998-1500 and follow prompts to hear the situational update.
Next steps: Effective immediately, here is a summary of additional steps we are taking in response to this development:
- Resume Wide-Spread Testing. Thursday, July 16, 2020, nursing home staff and residents only.
- Enhanced Restrictions and PPE Use. All nursing home residents should be restricted to their rooms with limited travel throughout the facility. All residents in Short Stay and the Apple Blossom household will be cared for using transmission-based precautions (COVID-19 PPE) until further notice.
- Communal Dining. Communal dining is cancelled on ALL households until further notice.
- Small Group Activities. Small group activities are cancelled on ALL households until further notice.
- Outdoor Visits. Outdoor visits for ALL residents are cancelled until further notice. Closed window visits and electronic visits are still permitted and encouraged.
Our goal in implementing these actions is to quickly limit further transmission of this virus. We are confident in our infection prevention and control measures, and in our ability to manage this small outbreak safely and effectively.
We sincerely hope these additional restrictions are very short-term. We will continue to provide updates on any news, emerging issues, or additional changes in our operations.