UPDATE: Second staff member at Winchester home tests positive

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WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – The test on the second employee at Fountain Circle nursing home in Winchester has come back positive.

The home had disclosed the second employee earlier this week. The update is the test coming back positive.

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The staff members have not been at the facility in a week and the nursing home says it is following “rigorous” preventive steps to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. That includes extensive cleaning and testing of all residents and staff, the company said in a release earlier this week.

No residents of the facility have tested positive.

Neither of the two employees are Clark County residents, according to the Health Department.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED WEDNESDAY May 13, 2020

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – A staff member at a nursing home in Winchester has tested positive for the coronavirus but hasn’t been at the facility since May 7 and broad preventive steps are being taken to prevent any spread, the owner of the facility said Wednesday.

The employee was at Fountain Circle in Winchester, according to Signature Health, which owns the facility.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), Signature HealthCARE at Fountain Circle learned one of its staff members tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member has not worked in the facility since May 7, 2020. The facility also has another staff member who is no longer working, due to medical non-COVID symptoms, who nevertheless, will be tested for COVID out of an abundance of caution. No employee will return to work without appropriate and verified medical clearance,” said Signature spokesperson Ann Bowdan Wilder.

The disease has not be diagnosed in any residents of the facility.

“Over the past several weeks, our facility has been aggressively proactive in implementing active measures against the Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19.  Part of this includes conducting facility-wide testing, of all residents and staff, in partnership with the State Department of Health and Norton Healthcare (see our previous release, included).  Fountain Circle, like all Kentucky nursing homes, will be conducting facility wide testing,” she continued, noting the company and staff “values the happiness, health, viability and safety of all its residents.”

Nursing homes across the state have been battling the coronavirus to avoid outbreaks. A large percentage of the state’s cases and deaths have been nursing home patients.

That has prompted homes and the state to step up prevention.

“Our residents are like family and the fight we have waged against this viral enemy called COVID-19 has been unwavering in the protection of our residents. We’ve wisely known and have been preparing for some time now, in this current COVID-19 climate, to be ready not for the ‘if’ but ‘when’ we will have a resident or staff person that tests positive.\” Wilder explained.

For weeks, Signature and other companies have restricted in-person access to facilities, screened all staff and residents daily for any symptoms, and other steps.

“We are working closely with the local health department and other government agencies in closely following all of their guidance on the virus.  We are in close contact with our medical director, as well as our infectious disease nurse and physician, who are providing us guidance,” Wilder said of the Clark County case.

As for family notification concerns, we personally notified all residents, their responsible parties, and our staff about the positive and potential staff cases. Please know that per our company policy, which follows state and federal guidelines, we are only notifying the resident’s listed responsible party about this. Often times, family members who are not listed as the responsible parties hear about events like this through the news or on social media, and become upset as they believe they should have been called by us as well.  Again, per policy and regulation, we can only notify the responsible party.  It is up to the responsible party as to whether they choose to tell other family members,” Wilder explained, encouraging “any family member with concerns to contact us directly.”