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Residents, employees test positive for COVID-19 at Newton PMMA

Newton Presbyterian Manor’s twice weekly surveillance testing has uncovered 3 new COVID-positive employees and confirmed the diagnosis of a fourth employee, whose rapid test was positive earlier in the week.

In addition, two health care residents tested positive after they were administered rapid point-of-care tests when they exhibited signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This brings the 7-day total for new cases to 5 residents and 4 employees.

“As the number of cases in Harvey County sharply increases, we continue to be vigilant in our efforts to keep residents and employees healthy and safe,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s vice president for health and wellness and infection preventionist.

Three of the four employees work in the health care center, and one employee works in assisted living memory care. Residents in assisted living memory care are being tested for COVID-19 today as a precaution.

The campus conducted 106 COVID-19 tests for employees, agency staff and therapists on Monday, November 3. All other tests from Monday were negative for COVID-19.

The employees all passed the employee pre-screening for their last shifts worked and wore personal protective equipment (PPE) as required. All COVID-positive employees are asked to quarantine and recover at home before returning to work.

The Harvey County Health Department has been notified and recommends testing all assisted living residents on Monday, November 9. All residents in the health care center will be retested on Friday, November 6, and again next week due to the exposures.

We will also continue our surveillance testing of all employees. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated surveillance testing of our staff. Surveillance testing requires all employees, agency employees, volunteers, hospice, lab and therapy providers at our campus to be tested on a frequency determined by our county’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate. Based on our county positivity rate for COVID-19 tests, our campus is testing staff twice a week.

The COVID positive residents will recover in isolation and be cared for by designated staff. We will follow CDC and KDHE guidelines for when the residents may come out of isolation. Under the current guidelines, symptomatic residents may leave isolation when at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of the resident’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the resident’s symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Asymptomatic positive residents will quarantine for 14 days. Designated staff members are following doctor’s orders for treatment protocols and following CDC infection prevention protocols.

We follow CDC and KDHE guidelines in determining when an employee may return to work.  Under the current guidelines, the employee may return to work when at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of the employee’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the employee’s symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. If asymptomatic, the employee must quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Upon the employee’s return to work, we will follow CDC recommendations related to work practices and restrictions.

All employees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. The community regularly reinforces with all staff that an employee should not report to work if he or she is experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well.

For more information about Newton Presbyterian Manor’s response, go to PMMA’s (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s) website,

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