Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at Newton Presbyterian Manor

For Harvey County Now

NEWTON—One essential healthcare worker has tested positive for COVID-19 at Newton Presbyterian Manor this week, and one additional resident has succumbed to the disease.

The resident had been cared for in the COVID-19 isolation area by designated employees, who follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infection prevention protocols and physician’s orders.

Monday, November 16, 122 assisted living residents and employees were tested for COVID-19. All assisted living residents tested negative, and all other employee test results also were negative.

“The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests in Harvey County is around 20 percent. We remain vigilant in our efforts to keep residents and employees safe,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s vice president for health and wellness and infection preventionist. “It is vital that everyone take basic precautions to help stop the spread of this highly contagious virus.”

The employee last worked November 17 in health care. The employee passed pre-shift screening and wore personal protective equipment as required.

This case brings our total new cases since November 11 to one employee and five residents. Due to the number of cases involved, Newton Presbyterian Manor is considered a COVID-19 cluster. A cluster is defined as two or more non-household cases of COVID-19 associated with a location during a specific period of time.

The Harvey County Health Department has been notified and recommends testing all assisted living residents again next week. Employees will be tested a second time and health care residents will be tested later in the week. We will follow any additional guidance the health department provides.

In-person visitation, group activities and communal dining remain on pause at the campus. Families are encouraged to schedule window and virtual visits with their loved ones during this time.

We follow CDC and KDHE guidelines in determining when an employee may return to work.  Under the current guidelines, the employee may return to work when at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of the employee’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the employee’s symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. If asymptomatic, the employee must quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Upon the employee’s return to work, we will follow CDC recommendations related to work practices and restrictions.

All employees and residents are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. The community regularly reinforces with all staff that an employee should not report to work if he or she is experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well.

For more information about Newton Presbyterian Manor’s response, go to PMMA’s (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s) website, Presbyterianmanors.org/Media-room.