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Life Care Center of Kona employee tests positive for COVID-19

A Life Care Center of Kona employee remains in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

The staff member last worked at the Keauhou care facility on Nov. 11 and remained in isolation, according to the early Tuesday update posted to the center’s website.

“They were out of the building for over a week before they tested positive,” Sarah Chase, director of nursing, said Wednesday.

All residents were tested on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18 as part of the facility’s routine testing program that follows Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services guidelines. All of the tests returned negative.

Residents and staff were re-tested Nov. 27 to ensure no spread of the virus upon the recommendation of the state Department of Health.

“We are pleased to report that all results are negative,” Life Care Center of Kona said in the update.

Chase said that Life Care Center of Kona has been caring for about 70 to 75 patients in the facility amid the pandemic.

“Our first priority at Life Care of Kona is always the safety and care of our residents and staff. We want to thank all staff at Life Care for their continued dedication during the battle against COVID-19,” the Tuesday update reads. “Although this fight has been ongoing for almost nine months, our team continues to provide excellent care to our residents and has gone above and beyond to keep them happy, healthy and safe.

“With the holidays upon us, now is not the time to let our guard down. We must stay strong and continue all COVID-19 precautions and take care of each other,” the update continued.

The employee who tested positive has been the lone case associated with the Keauhou facility to date.

The news of a positive COVID-19 case associated with a care facility in West Hawaii follows separate outbreaks of COVID-19 at the Life Care Center of Hilo and Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.

Fifty-five Life Care Center of Hilo residents and 17 employees were diagnosed with the coronavirus after an employee tested positive in early September. Ten residents died from the virus during the outbreak. The facility announced it was COVID-free in early November.

At the veterans home, 71 residents and 35 employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Twenty-seven residents died.

As of the state Department of Health’s most recent long-term care facility update issued Nov. 27, no Hawaii Island facilities had reported cases in the past 14 days.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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