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64 residents, staff test positive for COVID-19 at long-term care facility in Festus

More than 200 people have tested positive in Jefferson County

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported numbers that were from the Jefferson County, Illinois, health department. The story below has been updated to correct that information.

The Jefferson County Health Department reported 64 positive COVID-19 cases at the Festus Manor Care Center Sunday.

The positive cases include both residents and staff, according to a press release. One resident, a woman in her 80s, died from the virus.

The center notified employees, residents and family members and is working closely with Jefferson County health officials to contain the spread of the virus, according to the release.

“As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, our team at Festus Manor is grateful for the continued support by Mercy Hospital, the Jefferson County Health Department and the entire community of Festus,” said Jeanne Dirschuweit, administrator at Festus Manor. “The only way we can eradicate this disease is through full transparency and commitment to safety protocols from the entire community, beginning with facility-wide testing."

Jefferson County health officials have implemented a testing strategy for residents and staff. Health officials arranged for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including N95 masks, goggles, Tyvek suits and shields to be delivered to the center.

The facility has put in place the following protocols.

  • Closely monitoring and screening all residents and team members for symptoms on a daily and shift-by-shift basis. This includes temperature checks and other CDC recommended screenings. We are screening residents three times per day as well. 
  • Enforcing social distancing, maintaining six feet between all individuals and limiting community activities. 
  • Allowing only essential individuals (those providing needed essential care for residents) into the community. 
  • Practicing frequent hand hygiene in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Frequent disinfecting of commonly touched environmental surfaces to decrease environmental contamination.
  • Taking higher than required protective equipment precautions, such as wearing masks, gloves and gowns as situations warrant their use. 
  • Encouraging all residents to stay in their rooms as much as possible to better protect themselves.
  • Permitting only virtual tours and enforcing strict screening measures for new residents until further notice.
  • Working with our engineers and building maintenance team to move residents to appropriate wings and control airflow in the building.

As of April 19, there are more than 200 cases of COVID-19 in the county, including three deaths. Seventy people in the county have recovered from the virus.

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