Three residents at Grand JiVanté, a long-term care facility in Ackley, have tested positive for COVID-19.
CEO Korey DeBerg reported the cases on Thursday. He said they were discovered through testing that was implemented following the diagnosis of an employee on Oct. 22. DeBerg said the employee, who has since been in quarantine at home, did have daily contact with the residents.
The three residents who tested positive are being quarantined in a designated COVID-19 unit in Grand JiVanté's facility and they are being cared for by the nurse leadership team.
According to Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, the three cases constitute an long term care outbreak. The cases are also reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The outbreak is the second at a long term care facility in Hardin County. The first, at Hubbard Care Center, was first reported on Oct. 12. As of Friday, it had infected 58 people there, with two recoveries. Information about the outbreak, including details about the breakdown of residents and staff infected, has not been made available by the facility. Hubbard Care Center Administrator Angie Kuda-Bruns has declined to comment on the outbreak.
Grand JiVanté is home to 48 residents in the care facility. All three cases are residents who live on the same floor. The facility is also home to six residents in an assisted living unit, which is separate from long term care. None of the identified cases are from the assisted living unit.
The entire campus is on lock-down, with only employees allowed inside. Staff are being tested twice weekly and continue taking various precautions before their shifts. Those precautions include washing their hands, having temperatures taken, and answering a series of questions to ensure they have not been exposed to the virus. Strict policies for outside vendors and agency workers remain in place as well.
“Our residents are vulnerable to this virus and we are taking this very seriously” DeBerg said. “We have taken, and continue to take, precautionary measures to keep our residents as safe as possible.”
Plans to protect residents were initiated upon learning of COVID-19 early this year. Leadership at Grand JiVanté have planned and prepared for various scenarios - from major outbreaks in employees, to how residents requiring advanced care would be transported to a hospital.
Transportation plans, worked out with local ambulance services and Hardin County Emergency Management are in place, should they be required. In house, DeBerg said the organization has been diligent in cross-training employees, including laundry and kitchen staff, to be able to fulfill the needs of residents.
“This is not an ideal situation, but our unwavering commitment to our residents remains the same,” DeBerg said.
Hardin County has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases this month. On Oct. 1 there had been a total of 323 cases since March. As of Friday morning, the total number of cases stood at 509. Of those, 316 are classified as having recovered, and seven Hardin County residents have died. That leaves 186 Hardin County residents currently infected. As of Wednesday, four Hardin County residents were hospitalized.