WATERTOWN, NY — On Monday, May 11, Samaritan Health began testing staff and residents for COVID-19 at Samaritan Keep Home long-term care facility, in compliance with a new state directive issued by Governor Cuomo and as part of our ongoing safety efforts.
Late Wednesday, May 13, Samaritan Health received notice two staff members of Samaritan Keep Home tested positive. The staff members were asymptomatic, exhibited no outward signs, and were unaware they had the virus.
So far, we have tested 363 Samaritan Keep Home staff members – 263 are negative, two are positive, and 98 are waiting for results.
The employees who have tested positive will quarantine at home for the recommended 14 days. The employees were not exposed to the disease to their knowledge, did not travel, had no symptoms, and wore their masks while working. Any residents or staff members those employees came in contact with will be notified and screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
Up until this point, no residents or staff of Samaritan’s long-term care facilities had tested positive. We are taking this new development very seriously and following all New York State Department of Health directives regarding testing and contact tracing to minimize exposure.
Since March, numerous precautionary measures have been implemented at Samaritan’s two long-term care facilities, Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village, to ensure our residents and staff remain safe from this Coronavirus. These efforts include:
temperature checks upon every entry
asking a series of screening questions
requiring face masks for all staff and vendors
practicing enhanced sanitization
masking residents if they leave the facility
conducting resident temperature checks every eight hours
other precautionary measures
We have also taken great care to abide by the state’s stringent guidelines regarding COVID-19, many of which we put in place before they became mandatory.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen across the state and country, the unpredictable nature of this virus and the potential for those infected not to show symptoms can cause some cases to go undetected.
The health and safety of our residents and staff remains our top priority. All staff will be tested once or twice per week – depending on their scheduled number of shifts each week – to check for additional asymptomatic cases. As has been our policy since March, any employee showing symptoms will be tested immediately and will not be able to work.
At this point, all Samaritan Keep Home residents have been tested and we are awaiting additional results. We’re confident the additional precautions staff have been taking, including wearing masks and regular, deep sanitization of the facility, have greatly helped limit exposure. All Samaritan Summit Village staff members and residents will also be tested starting next week.
We are fully prepared to care for any resident who may have COVID-19. We have a plan in place to separate residents and have fully trained staff to care for them, should this become necessary in the future.