Long-term care facilities report outbreaks

    COUNTY – Two long-term care (LTC) facilities in Shelby County have joined others across the state announcing COVID-19 positive cases amongst their residents.
    The State of Iowa’s coronavirus website reports as of Thursday, Nov. 12 that Shelby County has had 17 positive cases in its LTC facilities, of which six are listed as recovered.  Elm Crest Retirement Community reports five cases, with two recovered, while Salem Lutheran Homes reports 12 cases, with four recovered.
    On its Facebook® page, Elm Crest said the facility is now listed with other facilities statewide in outbreak status.
    “It is with heavy hearts that we announce we have had several residents test positive for COVID-19,” officials said.  “Please understand this returns us to having all residents remain in their rooms as much as possible.  Meals will be served in rooms, and we will have no small group activities.”
    Contact tracing is being done with those residents who tested positive, and COVID-positive residents have been moved to the isolation hall where dedicated staff will tend to their care.
    Elm Crest is working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health and following all regulations.
    As of last week, more than 100 long-term care facilities were listed as having COVID-19 outbreaks, and the coronavirus continues its sweep across the state.  Shelby County is listed as having one of the state’s highest 14-day positivity rates at 26.6 percent as of Thursday, Nov. 12.
    A long-term care facility is considered to have an outbreak if three or more residents or staff members have tested positive for the virus.  COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
    In the 100 LTC outbreaks, 3,002 individuals have tested positive for the disease, with 1,329 listed as recovered and 918 deaths.
    The Shelby County Board of Health late last week made a request that all Shelby County residents follow public health guidance to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.  Preventative measures including wearing masks in public, social distancing of six feet or more in public, and staying home when sick are advised.
    Officials pointed to Shelby County experiencing high 14-day positivity rates, and to the recent outbreaks in local nursing homes, impacting the vulnerable and valued population.
    “The upcoming holidays are of further concern as holiday gatherings are opportunities for the virus to spread rapidly throughout entire, extended families, further impacting the health of the community at-large,” officials said.
    Measures to protect the health of the public from exposure to the coronavirus is requested from this time on until a significant reduction in transmission rates are achieved and there is a viable vaccine available to the public.
    The Board of Health’s request is supported and endorsed by the Shelby County Incident Command System, a group of emergency personnel, medical personnel, cities, counties, etc. in the county that oversees disaster-type situations, as well as Myrtue Medical Center.


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