Johnson Memorial Health Services Care Center has joined the 95% of Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities in Minnesota that have experienced a COVID-19 Outbreak inside their facility. As of December 2, we have a total of 11 positive residents in the Care Center. Currently, there are no positive cases in Assisted Living. While JMHS has prepared for this very scenario, we had hoped we would not need to put our COVID contingency plans into action.
To protect all our residents’ health and safety, JMHS has created a COVID-19 Unit located on the East Hall of the River Road Neighborhood by creating a barrier wall on the west side of River Road’s kitchen/dining area. The unit currently has space for 14 residents but can be expanded if necessary. All positive COVID-19 residents have relocated to the COVID Unit, where they are being monitored and quarantined appropriately.
In addition, JMHS has hired specific contract staff to work in the COVID-19 unit to minimize staff from moving between the COVID-19 unit and the non-COVID-19 unit in the Care Center. All persons entering the COVID-19 must be in full droplet precautions, utilizing N-95 masks, eye protection, gloves, and disposable gowns.
Due to the CMS positivity rate in Lac qui Parle County >10% and in outbreak status, JMHS has been testing all LTC staff twice a week and Assisted Living Tenants and Care Center Residents weekly. All symptomatic staff, residents, and tenants are also tested with a rapid IDNOW test.
As a result of the outbreak, yesterday, we tested all residents with either a rapid IDNOW test or a State-issued Antigen-Based Point-of-Care (POC) test for COVID-19 in LTC facilities. The State-issued Antigen-Based POC tests take approximately 15 minutes for the result. They are not as sensitive as the IDNOW or PCR tests but did identify two additional positive COVID-19 residents yesterday. Starting December 2, each LTC staff member must take a rapid Antigen-Based POC COVID-19 test before beginning work.
The hospital and clinics are busy with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and the drive-up COVID-19 testing is also heavily utilized. We are in the process of creating more negative airflow rooms to treat and care for additional COVID patients in-house. We continue to work with the SW Regional Coalition and our pharmaceutical vendors to maintain a sufficient supply of COVID medication and treatment options.
JMHS’s highest priority is to provide the best possible care while protecting the health and wellness of residents, tenants, patients, and staff. Our providers and staff are working collaboratively with the Minnesota Department of Health and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We are taking all appropriate measures and doing everything possible to minimize the spread of the virus in our facility and protect the health and safety of all who live and work here. But it is something we cannot do alone. We need EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY TO DO THEIR PART to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
CEO & Licensed Nursing Home Administrator