CLAREMONT — Four Elm Wood Center employees who tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month have been cleared to return to work but only three will choose to come back, according to senior living facility officials.

The four unidentified employees — all of whom were asymptomatic — were tested at the facility between June 5 and June 8 after a fellow staff member was believed to be positive for the virus following routine surveillance testing, according to Genesis Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Feifer. It was later determined by the lab used by Genesis Healthcare based on “the threshold level of the virus” and subsequent antibody testing that the initial worker wasn’t a carrier of the virus.

The workers were immediately self-isolated until the senior living facility, working alongside the New Hampshire Department of Health, could administer additional testing to ensure their respected health and guarantee that they could no longer distribute the virus.

Three of the four staff members returned to Elm Wood Center this week — each on separate days spanning from June 22 to June 24 — while one employee has chosen not to come back to work.

A resident of Elm Wood Center was also identified to be positive for the virus as a result of the testing on June 4 and was subsequently transferred to a COVID building. The unidentified resident has yet to be cleared to return to the main facility.

“At this time, it appears that COVID-19 has been contained to these few individuals who never developed symptoms. Even so, we continue to follow strict restrictions and precautions,” Feifer said. “As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began providing protocols and guidelines for the coronavirus, the center not only followed them diligently, but in many cases, got out in front of them, adopting even more stringent infection control precautions than were recommended at the time. We also continue to follow the direction of the New Hampshire Department of Health.”

Officials first began testing all residents and staff on May 22 and routine testing has occurred since when swabs are available, something that has been a challenge for the senior living facility.

Recognizing the difficult consequence of best ensuring public health by limiting visitors into the facility, Elm Wood Center has been working to supply residents with resources and technology that better connects them with their friends and family outside of the building.

“To make things easier for families, in mid-March, we implemented the ability for families and loved ones to perform video conferencing calls using Zoom technology and we have updated families via regular video conference calls,” Fiefer said.

This article will continue to be updated when more information becomes available.

Tuesday, June 9

Four Elm Wood Center employees and one resident have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Genesis Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Feifer.

In an email correspondence Tuesday, Genesis Healthcare officials confirmed the positive case count following a report submitted to the Eagle Times early Tuesday by someone affiliated with the assisted living facility that alleged that staff members had been tested and subsequently confirmed to have COVID-19.

“To date, Elm Wood Center has had one resident and four employees test positive for COVID-19,” Feifer said in a statement. “I can assure you that we are working round the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible. We are doing everything in our power – and everything medical experts know as of this time – to protect our patients, residents and employees.”

Officials say they are implementing several strategies to limit the spread including “screening residents and patients for symptoms” three times a day, screening all personnel upon entering the facility and requiring all staff to wear personal protective equipment at all times in the facility.

The facility is not permitting visitors — except for exceptional circumstances such as end-of-life situations — but encourages loved ones to reach out to the center.

Elm Wood Center has continued to follow guidance provided by the New Hampshire Department of Health, as well as other health agencies in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus within the nursing home.

“As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began providing protocols and guidelines for the coronavirus, we have diligently followed them and in many cases, has gotten out in front of public health guidelines, adopting even more stringent infection precautions than were recommended at the time,” the statement reads.

No additional information about the four employees and one resident has been revealed at this time.

CLAREMONT — Four Elm Wood Center employees who tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month have been cleared to return to work but only three will choose to come back, according to senior living facility officials.

The four unidentified employees — all of whom were asymptomatic — were tested at the facility between June 5 and June 8 after a fellow staff member was believed to be positive for the virus following routine surveillance testing, according to Genesis Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Feifer. It was later determined by the lab used by Genesis Healthcare based on “the threshold level of the virus” and subsequent antibody testing that the initial worker wasn’t a carrier of the virus.

The workers were immediately self-isolated until the senior living facility, working alongside the New Hampshire Department of Health, could administer additional testing to ensure their respected health and guarantee that they could no longer distribute the virus.

Three of the four staff members returned to Elm Wood Center this week — each on separate days spanning from June 22 to June 24 — while one employee has chosen not to come back to work.

A resident of Elm Wood Center was also identified to be positive for the virus as a result of the testing on June 4 and was subsequently transferred to a COVID building. The unidentified resident has yet to be cleared to return to the main facility.

“At this time, it appears that COVID-19 has been contained to these few individuals who never developed symptoms. Even so, we continue to follow strict restrictions and precautions,” Feifer said. “As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began providing protocols and guidelines for the coronavirus, the center not only followed them diligently, but in many cases, got out in front of them, adopting even more stringent infection control precautions than were recommended at the time. We also continue to follow the direction of the New Hampshire Department of Health.”

Officials first began testing all residents and staff on May 22 and routine testing has occurred since when swabs are available, something that has been a challenge for the senior living facility.

Recognizing the difficult consequence of best ensuring public health by limiting visitors into the facility, Elm Wood Center has been working to supply residents with resources and technology that better connects them with their friends and family outside of the building.

“To make things easier for families, in mid-March, we implemented the ability for families and loved ones to perform video conferencing calls using Zoom technology and we have updated families via regular video conference calls,” Fiefer said.

This article will continue to be updated when more information becomes available.

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