Willmar, Minn. – As more lab-confirmed results from residents’ coronavirus (COVID-19) tests become available, Bethesda Grand still only has the two positive cases of the virus, one affecting a team member and the other a former resident.
News about the resident testing positive was reported April 27. With respect for a family notification period and permissions required, Bethesda was unable to include more information about the resident.
Today, the family of the affected resident expressed their support for community transparency and agreed to publicly share that their loved one peacefully passed away with a positive test result.
“It is with a great sadness that Bethesda announces its first resident to have died with a positive COVID-19 result,” said Michelle Haefner, Bethesda president and chief executive officer. “Our hearts go out to all who are affected by the COVID-19 virus, but specifically to this person’s family and friends. At this difficult time, we extend our deepest sympathy to the family.”
Testing of some Bethesda Grand residents and team members began after Bethesda learned April 25 of a Bethesda Grand team member testing positive for COVID-19. To ensure the health and well-being of residents and team members, Bethesda initiated testing of some residents and team members who might have been exposed to the virus.
Within Bethesda Grand’s neighborhoods, 39 residents were tested due to their living arrangements. Of those tests, 37 have been lab-confirmed as negative, one test is still being processed, and the resident who passed had the positive test result.
“We are encouraged by the high number of negative lab results. We attribute this to having strict infection control procedures in place and acting quickly when a team member reported a potential symptom early,” Haefner said. “We feel we caught this early, reducing the potential spread of the virus within our Bethesda community.”
Bethesda will continue its aggressive infection control measures and screening procedures that began in March. These included complete visitor restrictions, program closures and changes in daily operations.
“We are taking all appropriate measures and doing everything possible to protect all who call Bethesda home and our team members from this virus. We are screening team members and residents for symptoms. However, people who have COVID-19 can be contagious while being asymptomatic, making it difficult to diagnose someone without testing,” Haefner said. “We must balance our commitment to transparency with our trusted responsibility to our residents’ rights and expectation to privacy. For all of us at Bethesda, providing the best possible care and protecting the health and wellness of residents and staff is of highest priority.”
Bethesda has received a few results from the team members who were tested, and those results have been confirmed as negative. We are still awaiting results of the other potentially exposed team members who were tested. Bethesda will share additional information as it becomes available.
Bethesda is a not-for-profit social ministry organization dedicated to serving seniors in West Central Minnesota through residential and community-based health and wellness services. Bethesda, which has been caring for seniors for more than 100 years, provides a full continuum of care, including skilled nursing care, short-stay therapy centers, home health care, outpatient therapy, independent and assisted living, adult day services, and a wellness center.