COVID outbreak at Powell Valley Care Center

11 residents infected

Posted 9/9/21

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the Powell Valley Care Center has affected 11 residents over the past week. However, as of Tuesday, none of the affected residents were experiencing symptoms …

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COVID outbreak at Powell Valley Care Center

11 residents infected

Posted

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the Powell Valley Care Center has affected 11 residents over the past week. However, as of Tuesday, none of the affected residents were experiencing symptoms requiring hospitalization. 

The center had been regularly testing residents and staff after a staff member tested positive a few weeks ago. When cases are detected, the center implements weekly rounds of surveillance testing of all staff and residents, in addition to placing restrictions on visitations. A resident who was tested on Tuesday, Aug. 31, came back positive for COVID-19, although they had no symptoms. The center received the results Friday, and at the time no other tests came back positive. 

On Saturday, however, some residents had symptoms, and as is procedure, all residents were tested. As of Tuesday, 11 tests had come back positive for COVID-19 and all of those residents were isolated.

“We’re crossing our fingers that no one ends up in the hospital. Right now, they all are doing well,” said interim Powell Valley Care Center administrator Michelle Petrich, adding that some of the positive cases were among roommates. 

“That’s one of the problems with COVID: Once you have one case, it’s likely the roommate will have it,” Petrich said. 

The Powell center will continue weekly rounds of testing until there are no more positive results. The procedures follow outbreak-control recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Wyoming Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

In response to the staff member testing positive, the center had implemented visitation restrictions, and Powell Valley Hospital has had visitor restrictions due to rising cases in Park County. 

The care center handles visitation based on guidelines set by CMS, which allow for visits based on the emotional wellbeing needs of a resident. Up to two visitors can be in the resident’s room, but no visits are currently allowed in the common areas. All visitors must be screened and wear masks.

If more than two visitors are coming to see a resident, the care center asks that they call ahead, and all visitors must be 16 years of age or older. Younger visitors can have outdoor visits with residents. 

The center was on its last round of testing before those restrictions would have been lifted, but the positive case from the resident delayed that. 

At a recent Powell Valley Healthcare Board meeting, it was stated that about 15% of care center staffers were vaccinated for COVID-19 and a staff shortage has worried leaders that a federal vaccine mandate would make it even harder to maintain staffing levels. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate among center residents is about 85%.

The Heartland, an assisted living facility that’s part of the Powell Valley Healthcare campus, has not had any positive cases and does not have any special restrictions on visitation.

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