COVID-19 Updates

01/25/21: We had COVID-19 test samples that were delayed and had to be processed by the laboratory over the weekend. All of our tests last week, including those that were delayed, came back negative for COVID-19. We will continue with our second week of outbreak testing.

01/16/21: This morning, we learned of the positive COVID-19 test result of a nursing home employee that had been previously placed on isolation at home due to a possible exposure outside of work. The last time they worked was before the exposure took place, so there is very low risk of any spread.  We will alert Dane County Public Health, await their recommendations, and continue with outbreak testing next week.

01/16/21: This morning, we learned of the positive COVID-19 test result of a nursing home employee that had been previously placed on isolation at home due to a possible exposure outside of work. The last time they worked was before the exposure took place, so there is very low risk of any spread.  We will alert Dane County Public Health, await their recommendations, and continue with outbreak testing next week.

01/13/21: We had been two weeks without a positive test until today.  Results were reported this morning for our test samples taken on 1/11 and we had one positive COVID-19 test.  The positive test was an administrative employee that had no direct care responsibilities.  Dane County Public Health will be contacted for any recommendations going forward.  We will continue with our weekly testing until we have been two weeks without a positive test.

12/24/20: This morning it was reported that one nursing home staff member tested positive for COVID-19 during our routine testing.  The positive test is from a CNA that was asymptomatic and is now on quarantine.  There have been no other positive tests or residents exhibiting symptoms.  We will continue with routine testing next week and to follow our current protocols.

12/23/20: We have received word of our preliminary vaccination clinic dates with CVS Pharmacy. They are planning on conducting our first dose of vaccinations on 1/7 and our second dose given on 2/4. These are preliminary dates, which need to be further confirmed by CVS and are subject to change. We are awaiting the hard copy consent forms. Once received, we will be making them available to staff and sending them out to residents or their decision-makers.

12/18/20: This morning we were notified of three COVID-19 positive staff tests. The staff members include an employee of Heritage Center, the nursing home and administration. None of the staff exhibited symptoms, but are now in quarantine. We are awaiting a response from Dane County Public Health on any recommendations they have for us. We are now in outbreak mode in Heritage Center and the nursing home and will need to conduct weekly resident and staff testing.

There is still no word on our vaccination clinic dates, but expect to hear from CVS soon.

12/11/20: Last week, we had no positive COVID-19 tests amongst staff or residents.  So far this week, we have not had any positive results either.  Both Heritage Center and Magnolia Gardens are out of outbreak status.  If the nursing home does not have any positive tests through the weekend, we will emerge from outbreak status.  We will still need to have all staff tested weekly, due to the positivity rate in Dane County.

The FDA approved the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine yesterday and will vote on the Moderna vaccine product on 12/17.  Distribution to states have started, with Wisconsin anticipating receiving 49,725 doses by next week.  The state is following the CDC recommendations for prioritization of vaccine first to long-term care residents and health care employees.  Skaalen is participating in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program with CVS Pharmacy.  As part of this program, CVS will be receiving vaccine doses and coming on campus to vaccinate residents and employees of the nursing home and our three assisted living facilities, likely in January.

12/08/20: Wisconsin’s frontline workers are doing all they can to fight the unrelenting spread of COVID-19, but they can’t do it alone. Health care providers from Green Bay’s Bellin Health, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and UW Health in Madison have joined in the coalition effort to help stop the COVID spread with a joint plea to the people of Wisconsin. In the new public education message, these real healthcare heroes are asking all of us to take preventative measures seriously to help them fight this pandemic.

Skaalen Retirement Services is proud to be part of the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition, a group of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business, education, and advocacy organizations who have all joined in the team effort to urge the public to step up and take preventative measures seriously. The coalition has grown dramatically since its launch and now includes over 125 Wisconsin organizations.

You can learn more about the coalition and how we all need to step up to help stop the spread: https://www.wha.org/stopthecovidspread. We hope you'll join us in sharing this crucial message with your friends and family. Our frontline workers are doing all they can, but fighting this pandemic puts them and their families at risk too. We need your help to turn this crisis around--for your family, and for theirs.

11/24/20: This morning we were notified of two nursing home staff members that tested positive for COVID-19. They were both asymptomatic and are now quarantined for 14 days. All residents have tested negative for COVID-19.

11/20/20: We were notified this morning that a PRN nursing employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This test was performed in the community and the last time this person worked was on 11/9, so the risk of exposure is low.  We will commence with mass testing again next week.

11/19/20: In the latest batch of COVID-19 tests processed this week, we had two positive tests this morning.  The first is a direct care assisted living employee and the second is a direct care employee of the nursing home.  The Dane County Department of Public Health has been made aware and have recommended we continue to follow our existing precautions;  weekly testing, alternative visitation, masking, social distancing, utilization of PPE, screening all for symptoms and checking temperatures.  No residents have tested positive.

The following is recently released guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to limiting virus exposure during the Holiday Season.  Due to our current positive tests and the rising positivity rates in Wisconsin, we will be following this guidance for the nursing home, Heritage Center and Magnolia Gardens this Holiday Season.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends against residents leaving the nursing home during this Public Health Emergency. Leaving the nursing home could increase a resident’s risk for exposure to COVID-19. The risk may be further increased by factors such as a resident’s health status, the spread of COVID-19 in the community (e.g., cases or positivity rate), or attendance at large gatherings. Residents can stay connected with loved ones through alternative means of communication, such as phone and video communication. Should a resident ultimately choose to leave the nursing home, CMS is providing the following recommendations:

  • Limit close contact (maintain physical distancing of six feet or more), keep gatherings as small as possible, and use technology to engage with others remotely;
  • Wear facemasks or cloth face covering at all times (including in cars, homes, restaurants, etc.);
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items;
  • Keep safe around food and drinks. Avoid communal serving utensils, passing of food, potluck or buffet style food service, and instead opt for individually prepared plates by a single server;
  • Perform hand hygiene often (e.g., wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer);
  • Avoid large gatherings, crowded areas, and high-risk activities such as singing;
  • For those attending a gathering, avoid contact with individuals outside of their household for 14 days prior to the gathering;
  • Ask anyone who has signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, to not attend the gathering;
  • If possible, conduct gatherings outdoors. Indoor gatherings should have good ventilation, open windows and doors if possible;
  • Verbally greet others instead of shaking hands or giving hugs. Think ahead about how you will manage to prevent physical interactions with loved ones of different ages such as young children; and
  • Check local conditions and state requirements for precautions and restrictions, including positivity rates and quarantine requirements, before crossing state lines.

Additionally, while the above actions can greatly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, we recommend nursing homes take the following actions when residents return to the nursing home:

  • Screen and increase monitoring for signs and symptoms.
  • Test a resident for COVID-19 if signs or symptoms are present or if a resident or their family reports possible exposure to COVID-19 while outside the nursing home. A nursing home may also opt to test residents without signs or symptoms if they leave the nursing home frequently or for a prolonged length of time, such as over 24 hours.
  • Place the resident on transmission-based precautions (TBP) if the resident or family member reports possible exposure to COVID-19 while outside of the nursing home, or if the resident has signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon return. Please note that residents and loved ones should report to the nursing home staff if they have had any exposure to COVID-19 while outside of the nursing home.
  • Consider placing residents on TBP if they were away from the nursing homes for more than 24 hours

11/17/20: We received notice this morning of another COVID-19 positive staff test result. This non-direct care staff member of the nursing home exhibited symptoms and was quarantined while awaiting the test result. Mass testing continues Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.

11/16/20: We had another nursing home staff member test positive this weekend. They are a non-direct care employee who was asymptomatic. We still have had no residents test positive and will commence another round of mass testing this week.

11/13/20: The organization did another round of resident and staff testing this week. We had one non-direct care staff person in the nursing home test positive for COVID-19. This person exhibited symptoms and was quarantined pending a test result. At this point, all residents have tested negative.

11/11/20: The statewide coalition effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 has doubled down on the urgency of its messaging as Wisconsin’s public health crisis threatens to overwhelm the state. Today, the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition ramped up its message again in the statewide effort to combat the pandemic. The coalition released its fourth public education announcement, with a stern and serious new message in the coalition’s efforts urging Wisconsin residents to do their part to help reverse the public health crisis.

The new ad comes as Wisconsin again hit new daily COVID-19 records, surpassing 7,000 new cases in a single day, and after a White House task force report again warned that Wisconsin’s ongoing health emergency will continue to lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths unless more serious action is taken.

Skaalen is proud to be part of the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition, a group of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business, education, and advocacy organizations that have all joined in the team effort to urge the public to step up and take preventative measures seriously. The coalition has grown dramatically since its launch and now includes over 100 Wisconsin organizations.

You can learn more about the coalition and how we all need to step up to help stop the spread by visiting the website at https://www.wha.org/stopthecovidspread

11/06/20: We have received the results of the follow-up PCR tests of the two individuals that tested positive with the antigen tests this week.  The nursing home employee was negative, but the Heritage Center staff member tested positive.  Although asymptomatic, that person will serve the fourteen-day quarantine period.  Just today, we learned of another Heritage Center staff member that has tested positive.  This employee last worked on 11/1, developed symptoms and utilized community testing.  Dane County Public Health has been notified and we are awaiting any additional recommendations from them.

Weekly resident testing has concluded and no residents have tested positive or are exhibiting symptoms.

11/04/20: We are in the midst of our second week of weekly testing. Two asymptomatic staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 with the rapid antigen testing system; one from Heritage Center and the other a non-direct care staff member from the nursing home. We are awaiting the result of their follow-up PCR test.

11/03/20: Skaalen is proud to be part of the #STOPtheCOVIDspread. Since its launch, the coalition has grown dramatically to include nearly 100 of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business, and advocacy organizations. Learn more: https://www.wha.org/stopthecovidspread

10/30/20: Resident and staff testing was initiated this week as recommended by Dane County Public Health. So far, all of our results have been negative for COVID-19.  Retesting of residents and staff will happen next week.  We continue to keep residents quarantined to their respective areas in Heritage Center, Magnolia Gardens and the nursing home for the duration of our outbreak.  To emerge from the outbreak, we need to be COVID-19 free for fourteen days since our last positive test.  Just one positive test puts us into an outbreak status for an additional fourteen days.  We continue to monitor all residents and employees for symptoms and temperatures, utilize masks and other appropriate PPE for the situation and practice social distancing.

10/22/20: Today we received word that a second staff person from Heritage Center has tested positive for COVID 19. This new positive staff member last worked on 10/15, then developed symptoms.  The Dane County Department of Public Health has recommended weekly testing of Heritage Center and Magnolia Gardens residents and staff for the next three weeks.  We are awaiting our delivery of our testing supplies.  No residents have presented with symptoms and staff are wearing full personal protective equipment.  Staff and residents will continue to be monitored and screened for symptoms.

We were also informed today that a staff member from the nursing home tested positive as well. This staff member is a management nurse with no direct resident care duties.  We have alerted Dane County Public Health and they are stating that the risk of exposure is low.  They are recommending increased awareness, thorough cleaning of areas this staff person was in and continuing to follow our existing protocols.  No residents have presented with symptoms and staff and residents will continue to be monitored and screened for symptoms.

10/16/20:

Dear Residents and Family Members, 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires Skilled Nursing facilities to inform residents, their representatives and families of those residing in facilities by 5 p.m. the next calendar day following the occurrence of a single case of confirmed infection of COVID-19, or three or more residents or staff with new onset of respiratory symptoms occurring within 72 hours of each other. The assisted living reporting of new cases will be done as soon as it is practicable following notification. 

We are writing to inform you that Heritage Center has a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection. 

The safety of you or your loved one is our highest priority. Skaalen has a COVID-19 policy and procedure and it was implemented at the beginning of March 2020 and updated since then to ensure resident and staff safety. Skaalen's COVID-19 policy reflects guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and the Department of Health Services. In addition, Skaalen has purchased appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to keep residents and staff safe. 

We will continue to monitor all residents and staff for symptoms of COVID 19, test residents when necessary, and work with the Local, State, and Federal Governments during this time. 

Cumulative updates will be given following the subsequent occurrence of either: each time a confirmed infection of COVID-19 is identified, or whenever three or more residents or staff with new onset of respiratory symptoms occur within 72 hours of each other.

Please visit the Facebook Page for updates: www.facebook.com/skaalenretirement/ If you do not use Facebook, updates will be sent via email, please email: [email protected] and include your name, the resident's name, and a preferred email address if changes are made to what we have on file. Updates will also be posted on our website: www.skaalen.com. Please note that updates to our website are only made Monday through Friday during normal business hours. 

We want to thank you for your cooperation with us during this time. 

Sincerely, 

Heritage Center

10/12/20: Last week the staff member that tested positive with the rapid antigen test has tested negative with the follow-up PCR test. Great news!

10/08/20: We have started our second round of routine testing and have had an asymptomatic staff member test positive with the rapid test. They have been sent for a follow-up PCR test and we are awaiting the result.

10/02/20: We are still continuing to work on in-person visitation protocols and training and will have more to share soon. Thank you!

9/25/20: It came to our attention that the nursing home is listed on the Department of Health Services (DHS) website as having an active public health investigation for COVID-19.  We have since contacted the DHS, the Division of Quality Assurance and the Dane County Department of Public Health to find out why we were listed, when we do not have any positive staff or resident cases of COVID-19.  Dane County Public health told us we were listed on the website due to an input error within their computer system.  The Department of Health Services are in the process of correcting their website, but it will take a few days for them to remove the nursing home from the list.

The Federal and State Government has released new guidance and clarification on the reopening of visitation to nursing homes.  We are currently working on how we can accommodate this safely.  We will have more information and details to share next week.

9/21/20:While using the rapid detection testing system last week, we had four asymptomatic staff members test positive for COVID-19.  Today, we have received the last of their follow-up PCR test results and all are negative for COVID-19.  Great news!

9/16/20: We began using federal government supplied rapid detection antigen testing this week for routine testing of staff.  This type of test has a higher incidence of false-positive results than the PCR tests that we used previously.  We have had three asymptomatic nursing home staff members test positive with the rapid detection system.  An asymptomatic antigen-positive test requires a follow-up PCR test to confirm a true positive.  The staff were immediately removed from the building and sent home pending the outcome of their PCR confirmation test.   No residents have presented with symptoms and we are continuing to monitor them.  Dane County Public Health has been contacted and we are awaiting their recommendations.

Stay connected with a loved one

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