Hillside Country Living is reporting its first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19. A staff member at the county-owned nursing, memory care and assisted living facility was confirmed positive for the virus earlier this week, Hillside Executive Director Donna Sprow told The Bryan Times Wednesday.
Sprow said all staff have been screened daily for COVID-19 and are following all accepted safety protocols, including temperature testing and wearing personal protective equipment.
“That staff member was not working at Hillside during the infectious period. We’re confident the risk for transmission of COVID-19 from this case at Hillside remains low,” Sprow told The Times Wednesday. Hillside also posted a message confirming the case and the safety protocols it is following on its Facebook page Wednesday.
Sprow declined to offer any specifics on age, sex or job title for the staff member, “out of respect to the affected staff member and in accordance with privacy laws,” she said.
But she noted on the Facebook posting, “Rest assured, we will contact you directly if your loved one is suspected to have COVID-19. We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we empathize with your feelings, especially of separation. We want to thank you for your ongoing support and trust.”
The Hillside staff member is believed to be the first lab-confirmed COVID-19 case among staff or residents of county assisted living or nursing homes, Williams County Health Commissioner Jim Watkins said Wednesday.
“I’m not aware of any other (lab-confirmed positive) cases among nursing homes in the county,” he said Wednesday.
Watkins said when the county health department is advised of a positive case, the health department contacts the employer and conducts and investigation, also known as contact tracing, to identify all other individuals who may have been in contact with the positive person so they can be instructed to self-quarantine and/or contact their medical provider.
As of Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health reports 6,404 COVID-19 cases statewide among residents of assisted living and nursing homes, and 2,977 cases among staff members. However, those numbers could be lower than the actual total as the ODH did not begin keeping a separate tally of assisted living and nursing home cases prior to April 15.
Sprow said Hillside, located at 09876 County Road 16, north of Bryan, is screening all staff upon their arrival and requiring them to wear masks. Staff who present with symptoms or become ill are sent home immediately to self-isolate and contact their health care provider; and Hillside is providing infection control education for team members.
Residents are screened for COVID-19 symptoms every shift and are encouraged to wear masks when out of their rooms or when a staff member is present; and if a resident displays any symptoms, the resident remains in their room and their physician is contacted.
“If needed, we will isolate ... ill residents,” Sprow said.
In addition, visitors are not permitted at Hillside and communal dining and activities have been discontinued.
Sprow invited anyone with questions or concerns to contact her, Jamie Haskell or Connie Burt at 419-636-4508.