Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Residents, Friends, and Families:
Today we received notification of a staff person of the nursing home that has tested positive for COVID-19.
We have been testing staff and residents weekly with PCR testing through Mayo Clinic. PCR testing has the best accuracy of the available options, but we have found that the turn around time for testing results from Mayo Clinic has slowed over the past couple weeks as cases have dramatically increased throughout Minnesota and the US.
We will continue to test through Mayo Clinic on a weekly basis, but we have begun other options as well. On Friday, November 6th, we began testing direct care staff with Saliva testing through Vault Health. We are seeing the test results back from the saliva tests within 48 hours, which is a significant improvement from other testing options. Direct care staff will be tested twice per week until this outbreak has been contained.
The third testing strategy that we have begun is point of care antigen testing for residents that have been exposed to a positive staff person. The antigen testing device return results in approximately 15 minutes. Antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 are generally less sensitive than viral tests that detect nucleic acid using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). More information from the CDC about antigen testing can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/resources/antigen-tests-guidelines.html.
We will continue to test all staff and residents at least weekly until we have had no new cases for 14 days in a row. Residents that have been exposed to staff with COVID-19 will be tested more frequently. All staff are tested at least weekly for COVID-19 and all direct care staff will be tested two times per week until the outbreak has been contained.
To resume indoor visits, we must have no new COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days and two rounds of negative tests for all staff and residents. Essential Care visits have been suspended in the nursing home. Compassionate care visits for end of life situations and essential care visits in McCornell Court Assisted Living will continue.
We encourage loved ones to communicate with our residents by phone or video chat, if possible. You may call our activity department at 218-338-1010 to set up a time to schedule a video meeting or window visit with a resident.
The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a free hotline for anyone who has questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19). Call the MDH hotline at: 1-651-201-3920. We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.
Tim Kelly, Administrator