What began with an employee's single positive COVID-19 test, has turned into an outbreak of the virus at Grand JiVanté in Ackley.
CEO Korey DeBerg said that as of Friday evening, the virus had infected two staff members and four residents. He said he expected the number of infections to grow as testing continues.
The outbreak has not yet been reported on the state's coronavirus website, but county public health officials said they were working with the Iowa Department of Public Health to update the website. This is the second outbreak at a long term care facility in Hardin County. The first is an ongoing outbreak at Hubbard Care Center. It has infected 58 people, although the breakdown of the number of residents and staff has not been made public. Hubbard Care Center Administrator Angie Kuda-Bruns has declined to comment.
On Friday afternoon, the organization issued a plea for help on social media, asking area residents to apply for temporary positions as aides, housekeepers, CNAs and nurses so the organization would have staffing in place as the virus outbreak grows. Those who want to apply should contact the office at 641-847-3531.
DeBerg first reported an employee had tested positive on Oct. 22. On Oct. 28 he reported three residents had tested positive. The cases, he said, were discovered through testing implemented following the first positive employee test. That individual, quarantined at home, did have daily contact with residents.
On Friday, (Oct. 31), DeBerg said the outbreak had grown over the previous 36 hours, and while the leadership had plans for various scenarios including employee outbreaks, the situation is prompting the call for help.
“At this point the call is a proactive measure, our staffing needs are not immediate,” DeBerg said. “I’m looking for individuals to apply now so we are even more prepared should the need arise.”
Preparative plans also include how to transport residents who need advanced care to the 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. “We’re doing our best to combat the spread of the virus and to minimize its impact on those who call Grand JiVanté home and those who have entrusted us with their family members.”
DeBerg added that he and his staff members have been inundated with texts, calls and other expressions of support, “We cannot put into words what that support means,” he said.
Grand JiVanté is home to 48 residents in the care facility. Another six residents reside in assisted living, a unit separate from long term care. The campus has been on lockdown since mid-March.