by: John Pepitone
Posted: / Updated:
OLATHE, Kan. — Testing will continue at a skilled nursing center every two weeks, following the detection of a COVID-19 outbreak at Villa St. Francis.
Mandatory tests of everyone at the center revealed a large number of new cases.
The center tested all of its staff and residents last week, in a proactive attempt to head off any asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus within the senior home.
So far, those tests have revealed 34 new cases of COVID-19, with almost all being people who show no symptoms of the disease.
CEO Rodney Whittington says of the 21 residents and 13 staffers who have tested positive, only three have displayed symptoms that required treatment in a hospital.
The center continues to screen staffers at least twice during every shift, taking temperatures and making workers fill out a questionnaire.
“We do know about the virulence of this disease and as well, how it shows up asymptomatic so often,” Whittington said. “So we made the proactive decision to do mass testing with every resident, every staff member on our team. That’s why we have these positive cases right now. Otherwise they still would be going on undetected.”
Whittington says Villa St. Francis is large enough to house COVID-19 positive patients in a separate unit.
Staff members who’ve tested positive have been sent home and are not allowed to return to work for at least the next ten days or until they test negative.
There are 170 beds and about 250 workers at the senior living center.
Whittington says one resident has since returned to the home after being treated at the hospital.
A family member who claims her grandmother is a resident at Villa St. Francis says the elderly woman is one of the patients currently being treated at the hospital.
The woman, who declined to appear on camera, says her grandmother is in intensive care at Saint Joseph Medical Center fighting for her life.
So far, about 22 percent of the tests at the senior center have yielded positive results.