Nineteen employees at Rolling Fields Elder Care Community who tested positive for COVID-19 are back to work after completing a 10-day isolation period, while five residents who tested positive are due to be released from the facility’s isolated coronavirus unit today or Wednesday.
“We just want to hold on to them just a little bit extra just to make sure everything’s” fine, said Jeremy Rutter, chief clinical officer for Heritage Ministries, the nonprofit that owns Rolling Fields. “We’ll go beyond the CDC requirements by a day or two just to be cautious.”
None of the 24 people who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced symptoms of the disease, according to Rutter.
More than 4,800 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been associated with nursing homes and personal care homes, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Such deaths make up 68.5 percent of the state’s total coronavirus deaths.
“We fared as best as you can with this,” Rutter said, expressing optimism that the most recent round of testing would produce no additional cases. Should more be detected, he added, the facility is prepared to “go through it again.”
After the residents who tested positive for COVID-19 are released from the facility’s isolation unit, that unit and the rest of the building will be professionally cleaned, according to Rutter.
Results from the third round of testing are expected Wednesday, Rutter said. The tests were conducted Friday.
The latest round of testing did not include the residents and staff who previously had tested positive — nor do those people need to test positive before returning to work or being released from the facility’s isolation unit, according to Rutter.
The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directs that people who previously tested positive not be retested because they can continue to shed the virus after they can no longer spread the disease, Rutter said. Instead of retesting, the CDC recommends a time-based approach: those who test positive must remain isolated for at least 10 days after being tested or displaying symptoms.
The Wolf administration on June 8 required all nursing homes in the state to complete a round of testing for all residents and staff by July 24. Facilities that detected COVID-19 cases in the initial round of testing are required to continue testing each week until no new cases are detected.
Rolling Fields’ first round of testing, conducted in late June, resulted in one employee testing positive. A second round of testing brought the total up to 24.
If the latest testing results detect no additional cases, Rutter said the facility would follow Department of Health directives regarding moving forward. One of the main criticisms of the state’s testing plan for nursing homes has been the lack of a requirement for repeated testing after the initial baseline testing is completed and no new cases are detected.
Rutter applauded the response to the outbreak at Rolling Fields and in the Conneautville area generally.
“We feel very fortunate and loved to have not only a great staff but to have a great community as well,” he said. “It was a wonderful response, lots of support, lots of kind words.”
This story was published by the Meadville Tribune. Read the original story here.
Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Rolling Fields, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York, with additional affiliations across the United States. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, lessons, and a therapeutic riding program. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit www.heritage1886.org