St. Clare Living Community of Mora has had its first confirmed exposure to the coronavirus, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Health on May 18.
MDH releases information about the number of exposures at congregate care facilities with 10 or more residents. Exposure is defined as a person diagnosed with COVID-19 who either visited, worked or lived at a congregate care facility while they were contagious.
To protect the privacy of the individual, it was not revealed whether or not the person was an employee, resident or other.
“I would like to reassure the public that level of risk to other staff and residents was considered low according to MDH; this in part is due to the policies and procedures the facility implemented effective March 12, 2020, as well as responding in the most appropriate and immediate way possible in order to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” said St. Clare Administrator Jenny Peterson.
Since the exposure, Peterson said all St. Clare employees and residents are expected to get tested for coronavirus within the next two weeks.
Peterson explained St. Clare is implementing policies and procedures to protect the health and safety of staff and residents including:
-Daily screenings of staff and residents
-Restricting visitors from entering the facility
-Wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment when providing care to residents
Educating staff of COVID-19 guidelines from MDH and the Center for Disease Control & Prevention
Eastwood buckles down
While there have been no confirmed coronavirus exposures at Eastwood Senior Living in Mora, similar preventative precautions are being taken.
Sarah Benbow, corporate director of marketing and communications at Walker Methodist, the managers of Eastwood Senior Living, said in addition to protecting residents’ physical health, they are also looking out for the residents’ mental well-being.
“Employees have always played an essential role with our residents, not just with health care, but with regard to the residents social and emotional wellbeing. Now more than ever, team members are aware of the role they play in helping to keep residents from feeling isolated or alone,” Benbow stated in a release.
While congregate areas are closed, staff has been finding creative ways to keep residents engaged with activities like Hallway Bingo and digital tours of the Glensheen Mansion.
Stay or go?
Benbow said they have received calls from concerned family members inquiring about these precautions. Benbow said her priority is making families feel safe.
“We understand why people might be tempted to move their loved one out of our community--we want people to feel safe. But we hope that residents and families remember that the majority of COVID cases are in the general public ... While we can’t guarantee that the virus will not get past our defenses, we know that leaving this community and moving into the general public, where the same infection control and hyper vigilance is not being exercised, is not a safer option.”
Eastwood Senior Living has 25 residents and 26 employees. St Clare Living Community of Mora currently has 143 employees and 85 residents/tenants in-house.