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COVID-19 outbreak at Sacred Heart Care Center, National Guard called in to help

Brett Bachtle
Created: October 12, 2020 06:39 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Over the weekend, the National Guard arrived at Sacred Heart Care Center in Austin to help the facility manage an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

For the past few weeks, Mower County Public Health has been working closely with the care center to monitor the situation. Public health staff are at the facility on a weekly basis to test healthy residents and employees and perform PPE audits.

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“Watching staff put on their PPE equipment and take off and make sure that they’re properly washing their hand and their following all infection control measures,” said Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg.

However, residents and caregivers are continuing to contract the virus, resulting in staffing issues.

“Public health became concerned because it hit the staffing so hard that they had some staffing shortages, so between public health and the Minnesota Department of Health, we’ve been trying to help fill that gap,” Kellogg said. “We asked the sheriff to reach out to the state EOC to see if we could get the National Guard down. They were able to send five guard members. One is an RN and four of them are medical techs.”

Over the weekend, the National Guard arrived and began helping take care of residents. They can also help COVID-19 positive residents relocate to a wing of the facility designated only to those who have the virus.

“We’ve also hired a nurse consultant to help with the facility to see if there’s anything that they can improve on or to see if their functions are going well,” said Kellogg.

Guard members are working 12-hour shifts and will be stationed at the care facility for two weeks before reevaluating and making adjustments.

In a statement to ABC 6 News, Sacred Heart Care Center said: “Moving forward, it is our intent to continue to work with our partners to ensure that Sacred Heart continues to provide the safest possible care to our residents while protecting our staff and the community at large from spread of this terrible respiratory disease.”


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