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Long-term care facilities report additional COVID-19 cases

More COVID-19 cases have been reported in Big Island long-term care facilities.

Justin Morrison, administrator at Legacy Hilo Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, said a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 17, and the result was confirmed shortly thereafter by the state Department of Health. The employee, however, hadn’t worked since Sept. 5, he said.

Morrison said the facility is following new government guidelines for monthly staff testing, and the positive result was found during routine testing. After the staff member tested positive, Morrison said, all staff and residents were tested. Those results were negative.

A second round of testing for residents and staff began Thursday.

Morrison said Legacy Hilo was “happy to catch it before it … spread inside the facility …”

As of Thursday, the 100-bed facility had 72 residents and 106 staff members.

At Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center, an employee who tested positive Aug. 27 and quarantined for two weeks returned to work last week, wrote Administrator Gail Kahookele in a Sept. 18 update on the facility’s website.

A contractor who tested positive during the first round of facility-wide testing on Sept. 4 has quarantined and has been cleared.

Employees who test positive will not return to work until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for returning to work have been met.

According to the post, staff and residents were tested again between Sept. 11 and 13. One resident tested positive and was isolated but is no longer isolated. Kahookele, however, said in a voicemail message Thursday that staff and residents were tested again last weekend, the results of which were all negative.

“We couldn’t be more delighted,” she said.

One more round of testing is scheduled this week, and if those results are negative, Kahookele said the facility will push back to once-a-month testing.

Life Care Center of Hilo last week also reported that two members of its dietary staff tested positive for COVID-19 during weekly employee testing.

Those employees were immediately sent home, said Administrator Mark Mann in a Sept. 16 update posted to the facility’s website. One resident had also tested positive and was moved to a private room in a designated COVID-19 area.

An associate who previously tested positive Sept. 6 was still recovering at home at the time of the update.

According to the Sept. 16 update, Life Care Center of Hilo implemented its COVID emergency plan on Sept. 15, which includes notifying employees and families about the recent positive test results.

“We understand the virus is still a very real problem, and we remain vigilant,” Mann wrote. “We will continue testing weekly until further notification. Our residents are also monitored multiple times day and night for any symptoms or concerns. And every associate is screened when they arrive for work and when they leave …”

Two cases also were reported last week at Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility.

The latest round of testing for staff and residents was completed Thursday, the results of which are still pending.

Email Stephanie Salmons at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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