Dear Community,

I would like to provide you with an update on the situation at Minnie Hamilton Health System Nursing Home regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, including the number confirmed cases as well as efforts we are undertaking. The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority.

Minnie Hamilton Health System has been performing COVID-19 screening test every 10-12 days on all staff of the long-term care unit as a precautionary measure, in excess of state and regulatory requirements to keep our residents and staff safe.

Today, a positive result was reported for a nursing home employee that was screened as part of the above and beyond testing performed on August 5th, 2020.

The employee was immediately called in from home to be retested today utilizing an in-house hospital test and the result of that retest was NEGATIVE.

However, we will be treating this situation as a positive case. The employee will have another follow-up test 24 hours from the last test as required and will be on a leave from work for a minimum of 10 days per state guidance.

Minnie Hamilton Health System is taking all necessary precautions and will treat the situation per guidance from state and local officials. All nursing home residents and it’s staff will be tested immediately, and all limited visitations have been suspended for the long-term care unit until it is declared safe to re-open for limited visitations.

Minnie Hamilton Health System is staying in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps under current circumstances. We are also following guidance from the CDC and CMS to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19, such as:

• Enhanced infection control precautions
• Screening residents, staff, and essential visitors for symptoms
• Restricting visitation and entry of people to the building
• Testing nursing home staff and residents for COVID-19 above and beyond current protocols
• Postponing or carefully limiting communal activities including social distancing and other infection control precautions

Due to government privacy requirements, we cannot divulge specific information about the individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, unless they are your family member and you have the necessary permissions to receive such information.

We are all concerned about our residents and your loved ones, but it is crucial that we restrict visitation to reduce the spread of this virus to others. We will contact you directly if your loved one is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

We also understand that connecting with family members is incredibly important to our residents. Family members are encouraged to connect with their loved ones through video chat, calling, texting, or on social media. For instructions regarding virtual visits, please contact Tracy Snodgrass at 304-354-9716, or Melissa Bell at 304-354-5977.

This is a difficult time for everyone. We will continue to provide you with updates. Please know that we are adhering to guidelines from the local and state health departments, which continue to evolve as we learn more about this virus.

Please contact my office directly for additional information, concerns, or questions at 304-354-9735 or email   stephen.whited@mhhs.healthcare

Stephen Whited CEO