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North Dakota long-term care facilities face increase of COVID-19 cases head-on

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Those who live and work in long-term care facilities are especially affected by the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise in North Dakota long-term care facilities like Missouri Slope are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their residents and staff.

“Unfortunately we did get one positive out of that staff group that was tested yesterday. And per CMS guidelines that means we have to therefore shut down outside visitation for at least two weeks,” explained Karson Pederson, the communications specialist for Missouri Slope Foundation.

It’s reasons like those that led the long-term care facility to decide to mandate vaccines among staff. Even with a vaccination rate of more than 60 percent of staff, being vaccinated.

“We want to make sure that we could keep our staff and our residents and those who visit us, the family members who visit us, our volunteers who are able to come back to and serve us, make sure they’re healthy,” said Pederson.

The North Dakota Long Term Care Association says there is a pattern they continue to see when cases go up in the state so do the cases inside the facility.

“So now as we see a thousand cases today, we know tomorrow and next week our numbers are going to go up, which is really unfortunate because we are at far greater risk of having negative outcomes for those vulnerable adults that are in our care,” explained Shelly Peterson, the President for NDLTCA.

Peterson says long-term care facilities have to screen staff every day, staff must stay home if they show any symptoms of illness, and everyone in facilities should be masked.

President Joe Biden is directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to come up with new regulations requiring nursing homes to have all staff vaccinated in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

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