Twin Cities elder care facility confirms 2 COVID-19 cases

Wheelchairs sit in a hallway at a care facility
Wheelchairs sit in a hallway at a long-term care facility.
Steve Mullis | MPR News 2009

Updated 11:50 a.m.

Two residents of a Twin Cities-area senior living community have tested positive for COVID-19.

The community, Johanna Shores in Arden Hills, said a third resident with respiratory symptoms is also presumed to have the disease but has not been recommended for testing by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The residents live on the same floor of the skilled nursing care center and have been quarantined to their rooms. Johanna Shores campus includes a skilled nursing care, assisted living, independent living and memory care units.

“The residents are receiving the best possible care for a full and speedy recovery,” Justin Birkeli, the campus administrator for Johanna Shores, said in a statement. The facility is getting additional support from its parent organization, Presbyterian Homes and Services, he added.

The Minnesota Department of Health said in a call Tuesday that there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in elder care facilities in the state.

“The diagnosed residents received care in isolation as if they had COVID-19 since they exhibited symptoms. We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus,” Birkeli said, adding that Johanna Shores is working with state health officials to notify anyone who might have come into contact with the residents.

The facility has a dedicated caregiver working with those residents and the the rest of the staff on that floor are limited to work on that floor alone.

"Staff who are providing care and services are continuing to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Department of Health,” Birkeli added.

On March 11, the facility began restricting all non-essential visitors from the site, as well as started screening all visitors and staff and cancelled all group activities.

In a letter to residents and their families, the facility said cleaning crews “will continue to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building.”

All communal dining rooms and household kitchens have been closed; dining is limited to in-room or groups of 10 or less “in certain circumstances,” according to the letter. The facility is also taking grocery store orders and delivering groceries to residents.

The long-term care facility at Johanna Shores has 171 residents. The independent living, memory care and assisted living buildings care for 202 residents in total. Those buildings are separate from the nursing facility, but connected by a long hallway.

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