Grand JiVanté

Grand JiVanté Care Center in Ackley

An employee at Grand JiVanté care center in Ackley has tested positive for COVID-19.

CEO Korey DeBerg contacted the Ackley World Journal Thursday night to confirm the diagnosis, and said the employee is in quarantine at home. He added that the employee did have daily interactions with residents.

DeBerg said the case was discovered during routine testing, which has been in place at the care center since early September. Most recently, staff testing was taking place weekly, until this point. Testing frequency is based on county positivity rates provided to the facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The positivity rate is the number of positive cases divided by the total number of COVID-19 tests performed. As of Wednesday, CMS was reporting a positivity of 10.6 percent. 

DeBerg said positive test results are reported to CMS. He added that outbreaks are defined differently at the state and federal levels. For the Iowa Department of Public Health to declare a long term care center outbreak, three residents must test positive. At the federal level, an outbreak occurs when one staff member or resident tests positive. 

Another Hardin County long term care center is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. The state coronavirus website reported an outbreak at the Hubbard Care Center last week. It started with 19 reported infections on Oct. 12, and as of Friday morning had grown to 39 total infections with two reported recoveries.  

The positive test at Grand JiVanté set a series of steps in action. The individual who tests positive leaves work and is tested again using the PCR method. In this instance, the employee again tested positive and may not return to work for a minimum of 10 days.

A negative PCR test result would have allowed the individual to return to work, but full PPE (personal protection equipment), including gown, an N-95 mask and other protections would be put in place.

The positive result also initiated testing of residents. As of Friday morning, there had been no additional positive tests, DeBerg said. Residents, or their Power of Attorney, can deny that testing. A denial results in a 14-day quarantine for the safety of other residents in the facility.

DeBerg said that the organization has done well to this point, keeping the virus at bay through a series of mitigation measures, including the use of PPE, not traveling to work in scrubs and other precautionary measures such as sanitizing shoes.

The facility, like many other long term care centers in Iowa, was locked down in mid-March, with only employees allowed inside. DeBerg explained that his staff has been diligent in following the recommendations of the Iowa Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and implemented those guidelines, often before they became mandatory for care centers.

DeBerg added that prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, have their temperature taken, and answer a series of questions to ensure they have not been exposed to the virus. Employees who develop symptoms are sent home. A similar process has been in place for outside vendors and agency workers who arrive on the campus.

“We also conduct a rigorous sanitation regime which follows, and in some cases exceeds, all state and federal guidelines in regard to COVID-19,” DeBerg said.

This summer, families of residents were encouraged to visit the through window and garden visits. As a result of the positive case, those visits will be restricted to Zoom visits for two weeks. Zoom visits are encouraged and may be arranged by contacting Deb Spieker in the Grand JiVanté business office at 641-847-3531.

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