April 18, 2020
REGARDING COVID-19 OUTBREAK AT CLEARWATER NURSING AND REHAB
To the Community of Clearwater, KS, Wichita area News and Media outlets and most importantly Residents, Family members and staff of Clearwater Nursing and Rehab:
We appreciate everyone’s continued concern and interest regarding how residents are doing with the COVID-19 outbreak at our Nursing and Rehab location. At the time of this release we have transported 12 residents to the hospital. Two of those have passed away. We are grieving with their families and loved ones and continue to hold everyone in our prayers.
We have administered tests to the residents in the facility and are awaiting results, which we may have by Monday. Once we have that information we will be able to implement a plan based on who is COVID positive or negative to try to further mitigate the spread inside the building. We will provide dedicated staff to each area as best we can.
Meanwhile, all residents have been and continue to be quarantined in their rooms. This is an unfortunate, but necessary situation until we know who is COVID positive and who is not. Staff are currently caring for residents as if all are COVID positive until we know differently and are providing care using the necessary PPE according to CDC and CMS guidelines.
Our community has been on the leading edge of implementation of social distancing guidelines and infection prevention protocol since the beginning of the pandemic under the daily guidance of our Medical Director. We have and will continue to follow all CDC and CMS guidelines in how to combat the spread of this global pandemic.
Our staff have been prepared for this. I am in the building providing care to residents, assisting the staff, and managing the situation every day myself. We have increased our staffing and have more reinforcements on the way over the next week to meet the increasing demand. Even though our normal PPE supply routes were cut off in early February like everyone else we have been able to continue to find supplies and have several thousand pieces of each necessary type of equipment. Our staff have been and are protected.
We have been asked about testing staff. We do not have the ability to obtain tests for staff. Tests can only be obtained through a physician’s order or through the Department of Health. We were able to obtain tests for the residents because their physician and/or our Medical Director ordered them, and it was difficult for us to find enough tests to be able to test all residents.
Staff have been and continue to be monitored at a check in point upon entry to our building where they must have their temperature taken and complete a health screening questionnaire prior to entry, and
then go through a handwashing station. Any staff who fail the screening process are sent home. Any staff with fever or other symptoms are given the number to call the Health Department or their physician. Should they meet criteria set by KDHE they will be tested and will follow guidance accordingly. We repeat a temperature reading of staff every 4 hours while on duty.
Overall, we are doing a good job of taking care of everyone. We have had some staff quit out of an abundance of caution, or fear, and some have been sent home due to having symptoms or positive tests, but we have continued to bring reinforcements from our PRN pool, our other communities and staffing agencies as we have needed to. My wife, Michelle is our Chief Nursing Officer and has been on-site since Sunday. I have been here since Thursday. Both of us will be here until the crisis has passed, so long as we are able to physically ourselves. We have a committed group of staff here who are working very hard every day to provide services to everyone living here and keep them as safe as possible. Having everyone quarantined in their rooms takes about twice as much work and time, but we are getting the job done and I am very proud of them.
We have received an outpouring of support from the local Clearwater Community and are very grateful for their continued support.
One thing we were not and are not prepared for is the public demand for immediate information. Since the news articles broke earlier this week, we have been flooded with hundreds of phone calls per day from concerned citizens, family members and news media outlets. Please bear in mind that every minute we are spending on the phone talking with an individual is one less minute we have available to take care of people in this building. Public Relations is the most challenging situation we have to deal with right now.
We are sending a daily statistical update to the Mayor of Clearwater, KS and Sedgwick County Health Department and are extremely grateful for their support in forwarding this information to their audiences. We ask for your cooperation in using those sources for your primary source of information and updates to our situation so that we can continue to focus on meeting resident’s needs inside of our community.
We will get through this, and appreciate everyone’s thoughts, support, and prayers as we manage our portion of this global pandemic
Willie Novotny – Owner, Clearwater Nursing and Rehab