Meadow Place

An employee at Meadows Place Senior Living has tested positive for the coronavirus, causing all employees and residents to be tested for the virus.

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Kittitas County has seen another unwelcome first in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The county now has its first positive COVID-19 case associated with a long-term care facility, with a staff member at Meadows Place Senior Living testing positive for the virus.

According to a Wednesday press release from the Kittitas County Public Health Department, the county was notified July 6 of the positive result. In response to the positive result, every resident and family member associated with the facility has been contacted by facility management.

The release continued by saying that the county’s Incident Management Team is working closely with facility management to rapidly contain any positive exposure, including mass testing of all residents and staff. The employee is in isolation and IMT personnel are working closely to ensure all contacts of the individual are quarantined. A public relations firm assigned to Enlivant, the corporate owner of the care facility was unable to be reached for comment as of press time.

“Senior living communities are considered at-risk populations for COVID-19,” the release stated. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. The greatest risk for severe illness is among those 85 or older. As a result, the IMT has been preparing for this response scenario and is acting quickly to contain any future spread of COVID-19 within the facility.”

Kittitas County Public Health Department Public Information Officer Kasey Knutson said the facility had a COVID-19 response plan in place prior to the positive result, and that the focus of the Incident Management team has been to ensure that long-term facilities within the county were working closely with them to ensure they were ready to respond to situations like this. She said the employee immediately notified their employer once they were made aware of the positive result.

“We know that they had a plan, and we know that the employee implemented it,” she said.

Knutson said the facility has a total of 46 residents and staff members, and that their tests will be sent to the state lab for results.

“Our hope is that we’ll have those results within 72 hours,” she said.

PROTOCOLS IN PLACE

Due to the high-risk nature of long-term care facilities, Knutson said protocols have been set for them at the state level and have not changed during the course of the pandemic. That protocol involves not allowing visitors into the facility.

“That’s not going to change from my understanding,” she said. “I don’t know what will happen, as it’s a state-level decision.”

Employees utilize personal protective equipment while working in the facility. Now that the Ellensburg facility has received the positive result, Knutson said levels of personal protective equipment will increase at the location.

“I don’t know what the specifics of that look like, but the PPE response goes up for their staff,” she said.

With the Incident Management team working closely with county long-term care facilities on their protocol, Knutson said the response to this specific incident has been timely and effective as a result.

“Being able to work closely together makes things really efficient,” she said.

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