Over half of the residents at Eastwood Senior Living have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Twelve of the facility's 22 residents and five employees have tested positive for the virus in the last week. As yet, there have been no COVID-19-releated deaths at the facility.
Eastwood is managed by Walker Methodist. Corporate Director of Marketing and Communications Sarah Benbow said that in order to protect residents who have not contracted the virus, residents showing symptoms of COVID-19 moved to hospitals.
Some residents who tested positive but are asymptomatic have been moved to other facilities while others are still at the Eastwood facility, but may be moved. All residents are isolated to their rooms.
“We want to make sure the residents who tested negative remain healthy, and we want to make sure those who are positive get the very best care that they can,” said Benbow. She noted that many of their cases were asymptomatic. Testing on residents and staff will continue nearly weekly until three consecutive tests come back negative.
Benbow said that living facilities, schools and other aspects of communities begin to open up, the dangers increase. Benbow noted that rises in cases in Minnesota, particularly the rise in cases in Kanabec County, demonstrates the need for all citizens take responsibility in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
“It is absolutely imperative that the entire community works together to protect our vulnerable populations. It’s not Eastwood needs to do all these things — it’s really our entire community needs to wear masks, needs to practice social distancing and needs to wash hands. We have to work together to keep everyone safe.”
Eastwood has approximately 26 employees. With five testing positive, Eastwood has had to utilize staff from other Walker Methodist facilities to cover all the duties needed.
“We haven’t been understaffed, but we’ve had to be creative,” said Benbow.
St. Clare Living Community
The St. Clare Living Community of Mora has also had confirmed cases of coronavirus in the facility. St. Clare has approximately 143 employees and 85 residents and tenants.
Administrator Jenny Peterson assured that the facility has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.
Peterson explained a unit of the St. Clare facility has been designated for COVID residents with specially trained staff designated to work in that unit.
St. Clare continues to work with the National Guard and Minnesota Department of Health when it comes to testing and the facility’s policies and procedures.
The state of Minnesota advises that everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Wear masks when in public; 10-50% of virus carriers are asymptomatic wearing masks helps control the virus and has been shown to lower COVID-19 spread.
Avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people, where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time.
Get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms
Stay 6 feet away from others.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterward.
Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
Up-to-date guidance is available from the MN Department of Health at www.health.state.mn.us.