Dear Families, Friends, and Community Members,
As many of you are already aware our community has seen a large increase in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. According to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) our county’s positivity rate is currently at 11.4% which is the highest Dunn County has been since the beginning of the pandemic. Any county that is above 10% positivity rate is in the “red zone”, which requires the long-term care facilities in that county to take extra precautions. The level of spread in our community and positivity rate puts us into the “red zone”.
TNDC takes the pandemic and the health and safety of our residents, staff, and families very seriously. TNDC has and will continue to follow all guidelines and mandates of our State and Federal regulators and governments. Currently, due to the high positivity rate, our guidance is very strict.
Currently, all staff is being tested twice a week for surveillance testing. All staff are screened before the start of their shift and are required to wear a facemask and eye protection at all times. If a staff member tests positive, either in the community or by our testing, the facility they work in goes into an outbreak investigation. During this investigation, all residents in the specific facility are tested weekly to determine if the virus was spread. To date, TNDC has had 11 staff or other nursing home personnel test positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the Pandemic. To date, no residents have tested positive, and there has not been any identified spread among staff. Currently, all three facilities are under an outbreak investigation due to positive staff cases.
Since the weather has taken a turn for the worse, there have been many questions about indoor visitation. Unfortunately due to the county’s high positivity rate, we are unable to hold indoor visitation per CMS guidelines. Indoor visitation (with the exception of compassionate care visits) is not permitted in counties with a 10% or higher positivity rate, or that are currently conducting an outbreak investigation. TNDC has developed plans and extra safeguards for indoor visitation when the time comes.
TNDC has also revisited the risk of residents going to appointments at this time. At the beginning of the Pandemic, we had asked that all non-essential appointments be rescheduled. As the situation worsens, we again believe that it would be in the best interest of our residents to push any non-essential appointments back. There is also a concern about transportation to and from the appointments. If an appointment is absolutely necessary residents are going to be asked to stay in their rooms for 14 days upon return due to potential exposure during the transport to and from the appointment. We are very fortunate at TNDC to have the capability to do virtual appointments; this is an excellent and safe option for appointments that cannot be pushed back.
Our number one goal is to protect the health and safety of our residents, staff, and our community. The staff at TNDC greatly appreciate your support and understanding during this time. The Pandemic has taken its toll on everyone in our community. Please be safe and be kind to all during this difficult time.
Carmen Flunker, LNHA