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COVID-19 outbreak in Pipestone County nursing home results in 19 residents, 10 staff with the virus

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PIPESTONE — The Good Samaritan Society of Pipestone is in the midst of an outbreak of COVID-19, with 19 residents and 10 staff members confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of today, according to Tess Pridal, administrator for the skilled nursing facility.

Four residents there have died since June 28, with the latest being two deaths reported to the Minnesota Department of Health as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The first positive case of the novel coronavirus was reported at the Good Samaritan Society of Pipestone on June 25. Ten days later, a report issued by the Minnesota Department of Health reported six residents and two staff at the facility tested positive for the virus.

Good Samaritan Society of Pipestone is home to 63 residents. In a letter sent to families of the residents today, Pridal said safety and well-being of residents and employees is a top priority and the facility are working to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The individuals with a confirmed case are being cared for (in) our COVID unit within the village by dedicated staff who are wearing personal protective equipment,” she shared.

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A mass testing event, which is being coordinated with the Minnesota Department of Health, is planned for July 16. Pridal said any staff members who have tested positive or are symptomatic are not allowed to return to work until they have been cleared to do so.

“We are following CDC infection control protocols which include practicing good hand washing hygiene and routine cleaning,” Pridal said. She also noted in the letter that all essential workers are being screened at the beginning of their shift for respiratory symptoms, including fever and cough.

Families of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 will receive a daily phone call from the care facility.

The Good Samaritan Society of Pipestone also operates Ridge View Estates, an assisted living and senior care community in Pipestone. Pridal said there have not been any positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents at that campus.

According to MDH, once a confirmed case of COVID-19 is found in a long-term care facility, an MDH surveillance team initiates an investigation and communicates with facility administrators, clinical staff and infection prevention.

Each facility that has an outbreak is assigned a COVID case manager (CCM) that serves as their primary point of contact with MDH. The case manager is a liaison to all areas of MDH response, from case/contact tracing, to infection control, health care worker monitoring and testing.

MDH has developed guidelines for residents, health care personnel, staff contact tracing and exposure risk assessment, and works with facilities to develop plans for isolation and/or cohorting of ill residents, as well as quarantining exposed residents.

Aside from the outbreak at the Pipestone facility, area long-term care facilities have kept resident exposures to COVID-19 to a minimum. While there have been reports of staff testing positive, most facilities in the far southwest corner of the state have had no residents test positive for the novel coronavirus.

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The exception is the Parkview Manor Nursing Home in Ellsworth. In mid-April; that facility had two COVID-19 positive residents. One resident later died, becoming the first Nobles County individual to die of the novel coronavirus.

Since that time, one additional resident and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. It isn’t known if the two residents and two staff members have recovered from the virus, or if their cases are still considered active.

Parkview Manor, which is owned by the city of Ellsworth, is guided by a board of directors. The directors advised Administrator Scott Kessler not to comment on the current status of cases.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUS
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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