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North Dakota’s long-term care facilities working to keep the elderly safe

COVID-19

We’ve known for months that the coronavirus is most deadly to the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.

We dive into what long-term care and assisted living facilities are doing to keep those people safe.

A total of 308 people between residents and staff at long-term care facilities in North Dakota have tested positive for COVID-19.

So how is the virus spreading in those places even though they’ve had strict visitor restrictions since the beginning of March?

“Our asymptomatic staff that are living in the community, maybe living with other individuals that might’ve been exposed, that have a spouse that has been exposed. They’re both asymptomatic and they’re unknowingly bringing it into the facility,” shared Shelley Peterson, the North Dakota Long Term Care Association President.

One of those facilities is Sunset Drive Prospera in Mandan.

It had five resident and four staff members test positive after mass testing over 400 people.

Administrator Anthony Elsperger says no one was showing any symptoms.

“When they’re in the location we’re requiring universal masking and eye protection. Face shields or goggles. So the chance of transmission if they those processes is very low,” shared Elsperger.

Meanwhile, outside visitors are still not allowed in.

Peterson says she knows that’s difficult for close-knit families and friends.

“Heart jerking, caring. Issue that we’re dealing with is the impact on residents of no visitation, no dining together. Impact on families. It is tremendously difficult. And even though facilities are going above and beyond and trying to do Facetime and other ways of communication, waving out the window, having parades… it’s… You can’t replace family,” shared Peterson.

Sunset Prospera says it plans to hold another mass testing for residents and staff members there soon.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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