Testing Dates Released for Routine Staff Testing

Last week we learned about the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) testing requirements that include routine staff testing. Based on our current county positivity rate provided by CMS, our care center is in the low category. CMS recalculates the county positivity rate weekly and we will keep you updated if our category changes. This category requires us to routinely test staff monthly. Our first round of routine testing for staff will be September 29th, 2020. We continue to test symptomatic residents and staff as symptoms arise and perform entire-site testing during an outbreak (positive case in our care center). Should a confirmed case come from any of these tests, we would promptly notify our residents, staff and their families.

The threat of this devastating and deadly virus is still with us. Minnesota is experiencing an increase in the number of positive cases in areas across our state, which can pose a greater risk of exposure to both our residents and our staff. As of Sept. 11th, 2020, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

We continue to offer outdoor visits (additional option for 2 visitors or less with new covid curtain), window visits and virtual visits. As a reminder, all visitors must comply with our screening protocols and other infection control measures when they visit their loved one. Please contact Kelly Squires at 218-231-8119 to schedule your visit in advance.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. Please contact our care center for more information or visit www.jobswithus.org to apply.

Thank you again for being partners with us in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Please do not hesitate to reach out Shane P. Roche, Administrator, at 218-231-8106 if you have any questions or concerns. Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page.

2 WEEKS COVID FREE!

Weekly Update: 09/03/2020

Our residents and staff were tested for a 2nd time on August 31st.  We are pleased to share that no additional residents or staff tested positive for COVID-19.  This means we can discontinue weekly point prevalence testing (PPT) for all residents and staff at Guardian Angels Health & Rehabilitation Center.  Additionally, we will be allowing patio visits again on September 3rd. Please contact Kelly Squires, Activity Director, at 218-231-8119, to schedule your visit.

 Tests PositiveTests NegativeTests PendingTotal Tested
Residents079079
Staff01030103
Results from 8/31/2020 Entire-site testing

This week, CMS and MDH released new testing requirements for our care center’s staff and residents that are effective immediately. “Facility Staff” is defined broadly, to include employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and caregivers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility, and students in the facility’s nurse aide training programs or from affiliated academic institutions.  The requirements outline routine testing depending on our county positivity rate:

  • Low: Monthly testing in counties with less than 5% positivity
  • Medium: Weekly testing in counties with 5-10% positivity
  • High: Bi-weekly testing in counties with greater than 10% positivity

The rule also requires testing in three scenarios: (i) symptomatic individual identified; (ii) outbreak (new case arises in facility); and (iii) routine testing.  While CMS does not recommend routine testing of residents unless the resident leaves the facility regularly, it does require routine testing of staff.

Currently, our policy is to test residents and staff if they are symptomatic, had exposure to someone positive and during a known outbreak in our facility like we have just experienced. Due to our county positivity rate, we will now be testing all staff monthly. This frequency is subject to change pending our county positivity rate.

We appreciate all the support, prayers, and offers of help that we’ve received. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Shane P. Roche, Administrator, at 218-231-8106 or by email at sroche@guardianangels.sfhs.org.

NO Additional Cases!

Weekly Update: 08/28/2020

 Tests PositiveTests NegativeTests PendingTotal Tested
Residents080080
Staff01000100
Results from 8/24/2020 Entire-site testing

 After last week’s update, we were notified that we had a staff member test positive for COVID-19 on 08/21/2020.  Our residents and employees have now been tested for COVID-19, and we have received all of those results.  We are pleased to share that we have no additional residents or staff test positive for COVID-19.  We will be testing again for residents and staff on Monday, August 31st.

We continue to follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All staff are equipped with surgical masks, face shields, and gowns.

Due to the COVID-19 situation in our care center, we will not be able to allow patio visits or open-widow visits at this time. We are continuing to schedule closed window visits with residents. Please contact our care center to schedule your visit.  We also encourage alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc. We have obtained additional equipment to meet the demands of these virtual visits and staff are able to assist residents as needed.

We appreciate all the support, prayers, and offers of help that we’ve received. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Shane P. Roche, Administrator, at 218-231-8106 or by email at sroche@guardianangels.sfhs.org.

COVID Positive Staff Member

Dear Family and Friends,

Although not unexpected, as of 08/21/2020, we have a staff member in our care center who has tested positive for COVID-19.  This event triggers a planned process of isolating residents to aggressively minimize transmission to others. Our top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are collaborating with our Medical Director and the Minnesota Department of Health and are following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure we are taking all appropriate steps at this time.

With the confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in our care center, we will move forward with entire site testing for both residents and staff on Monday, August 24th. We understand that this decision may result in increased confirmed cases, but the results will allow us to accurately isolate the virus and prevent the spread in our community. We believe this is the best way to protect residents, staff and our community and track the path of the virus. This means that we must cancel all outdoor and open window visits until further notice. We will continue to use technology and closed window visits for resident connection with you.

In the event we have any residents test positive, we would activate our COVID unit. The unit is segregated from the rest of our community. The designated staff that care for residents in this unit remain within the area and do not have physical contact with other non-segregated residents. Any staff who test positive will be self-quarantined at home and will not be allowed to return to work until they recover from the virus; 10 days following positive test and 72 hours from last fever without using medication. Our staff are equipped with specific training and PPE to continue to provide safe, quality care, services and support to the residents of our community.

As we’ve shared several times, in early March, we initiated proactive infection control practices, screening procedures and visitor restrictions that will help us manage this situation as effectively as possible and protect the safety and health of all who live and work here. We will continue to update you on any news, emerging issues, or additional changes in our operations via Bright Arrow, email, website, and our Facebook page.

We know that this news may concern you or that you may have questions about what we are doing to keep everyone safe and healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Shane P. Roche, Administrator, at 218-231-8106.

Updated Best Practices for CoVid-19

As of 07/17/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We know that you share our concerns about efforts to keep residents in our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A new, optional program called Essential Caregiver was released from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with guidelines last Friday.  While we welcome this opportunity to make necessary exceptions to the visitor restrictions for those previous to COVID-19 providing essential care, we must all continue to be vigilant.  We ask for patience as we consider the concept of the Essential Caregiver, what components make up the design of the program and when the time is right to implement this in our care center; balancing the safety, health and wellness for all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role.

We continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding infection and prevention control (IPC).  The following list identifies best practices currently in place at our care center:

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Indoor person to person visits are not allowed unless considered under the Compassionate Visit criteria.  Alternative opportunities for visits by appointment include,
    • Virtual visits.
    • Open or closed window visits with social distancing.
    • Outdoor patio visits with social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required upon visitor successfully passing the visitor screening. All outdoor visits must be monitored by staff.
  • Volunteers.  In some cases, volunteers have been specially trained and specifically assigned screening or monitoring duties and have limited access to the care center with PPE use.
  • Non-essential health care providers (HCP).  In some cases, depending on ability to use telehealth methods and certain procedures required, HCP are allowed access.

Other Infection Control Practices

  • Residents are monitored for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.
    • Resident(s) presenting with respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be recommended for testing and quarantined while awaiting test results.
    • Dependent on outcomes, point prevalence testing (PPT) of the entire resident population and employees will implemented.
  • Residents are quarantined
    • upon admission,
    • if exposed to individuals with COVID-19 or those with exposure risk,
    • or upon return from medically emergent appointments out of the care center.  Some medically necessary appointments may not require quarantine upon re-entry to the care center.
  • Essential health care providers (HCP), who cannot use telehealth methods for treatment or are providing specific procedures will be allowed access using PPE and using specific ICP.
  • Essential HCP, Compassionate Criteria visits and employee entrance to the building will be limited to one location when possible.
  • Employees/contractors are screened upon entry and actively monitored while in the care center.
    • Any staff or contractor showing respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be asked to be tested and not allowed to enter the building and expected to quarantine at home while waiting for test results.
  • Social distancing is practiced throughout the building.
  • All Staff are required to wear PPE including a surgical masks and eye protection.    Additional PPE is required if a segregated unit is used or outbreak occurs.
  • Residents are required to wear masks while receiving cares or are out of their room, unless medically exempt.
  • All deliveries are left at the care center designated delivery door or in the vestibule where possible.
  • Cleaning protocols are met for COVID-19.

Updated information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.