Weekly testing to continue for several weeks

by Dennis Rahm with information and photo demonstrating safety protocol released by Amanda Ballou. 

Confirmed COVID-19 positive cases at Heritage Heights in Chelan have increased from 19 to 25. The updated results of weekly facility wide testing were received on Christmas Eve. Below is the most recent update from Heritage Heights CEO Amanda Ballou.

Heritage Heights received the results of its second weekly round of facility-wide testing on Christmas Eve.  The tests showed four new positive cases and 19 negative results.  In addition to the new cases, there were two PCR results that came in positive after initial rapid response tests had been negative. These test results brought total confirmed positive COVID-19 cases to 25.  There are two individuals in rehab.

Weekly testing is only done for negative cases.  Positive results are not re-tested. Testing is required to continue for four weeks after the last positive result is obtained in order to demonstrate that the outbreak has cleared.

According to Chelan Douglas Health District representatives, it has taken long term care facilities a minimum of six weeks and as long as several months to become clear of an outbreak.

As a matter of perspective, in Chelan County there were 11 long term care facilities with outbreaks at the beginning of December.  There are now nine.

Heritage Heights continues to follow the DOH and CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.  The observance of quarantine, personal protective equipment, and testing are our main defenses.

Heritage Heights is participating in a vaccination partnership program with Walgreens that should provide the first round of vaccines for staff and residents sometime in January. Ballou said a total of three on-site vaccination clinics will conducted in the next few months.

We are a “Family Bubble” made up of residents and staff — Amanda Ballou

Following the recent news that Chelan’s Heritage Heights had confirmed several COVID-19 cases, LCN’s Dennis Rahm had an opportunity to visit by phone with CEO Amanda Ballou. After their conversation, Ballou provided information about the Heritage Heights Family and the efforts to keep everyone — staff and residents — safe.

“I think of Heritage as a “bubble.” We are a household made up of residents and staff; we’re in this together. Just one confirmed case–doesn’t matter whether resident or staff–constitutes an outbreak. We implement the same mitigation–separation (quarantine), protective equipment (pictured above), and testing. We report our numbers to CDHD and the State within 24 hours.  They post on a website for long term care as a facility count. I follow suit.
Our total population is about 50.
We will be testing again and test results should be available at the end of the week (12/25). I report results to residents and family first, so they don’t hear it from the press before they hear it from me.

Staffing has been a challenge, but everyone has pitched in to cover. Staff has conscientiously quarantined as soon as they have experienced symptoms or gotten a positive result. Nevertheless, we have had every caregiver position filled on all shifts. We are getting through this.”