Last week, Victorian Place of St. Clair announced three of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
On Monday the facility confirmed one of those employees, who is asymptomatic, has been allowed to continue working only with the COVID-19 residents at the facility.
Pat Cokingtin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Americare Senior Living, the parent company for Victorian Place, said the employee has no contact with COVID-19 negative residents or staff who work with COVID-negative residents while on duty.
“This employee is in full personal protective equipment their entire shift and enters and exits the building through a separate entrance along with all staff working on our COVID Positive hall,” Cokingtin said. “This employee completes frequent wellness checks and should this employee become symptomatic they would be asked to remain at home for their own health and recuperation.”
Cokingtin added under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines asymptomatic COVID-19 employees are permitted to work with the approval of the State Health Department.
“We received that approval,” Cokington said. “This employee is working voluntarily and had the opportunity to take a leave of absence but chose not to do so. I believe it really speaks to their commitment to the residents. Once this employee has two negative COVID-19 tests they can resume working with all residents.”
To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, the CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.
Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:
• Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
• Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
• Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue face masks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
• Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
• Disinfect and Clean Work Spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and two days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.
In addition to the three positive employees a total of 11 employees had been tested as of May 13.
In all, 12 residents at the facility have tested positive for the virus, six of which have since recovered, leaving five active cases at the facility as of mid-week.
In early April, Victorian Place of St. Clair was designated as a specialized COVID-19 care site by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Because of that designation, a 90-year-old man who was a Sullivan resident was moved to the St. Clair facility for isolation in the portion of the facility designed for COVID-19 patients.
The man has since had two negative COVID-19 tests and will soon be moved back to his former residence in Sullivan.
“We retest on May 21 so I’m hoping we will have more recoveries to report,” Cokingtin said. “We continue to be encouraged by our recovery rate for our residents and look forward to winding down our special care unit.”