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Billings, Mengshan – This is the last line of defense to protect the spread of coronavirus in the United States to protect the most vulnerable people: In May, state officials provided free testing for employees and residents in assisted living and long-term care facilities.

Canyon Creek Memory Care Center is 45 of the 289 institutions that initially rejected Montana for testing.

According to national data, the virus infected almost all residents of the institution The largest city in Montana The system takes care of people with dementia and other memory impairments. Eight people have died since July 6, accounting for nearly a quarter of the 34 confirmed deaths in the state. Thirty-six employees tested positive.

“I don’t think there are good reasons for not conducting the test. Christopher Laxton, executive director of the Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine Association, said that your work situation is not good. The association represents more than 50,000 long-term care professionals.

The nursing home became the first fatal outbreak in the United States. Six of Montana’s earliest deaths were related to infections in nursing homes, but the state avoided the widespread early outbreaks seen elsewhere in the United States.

“My impression is that these facilities believe that they have established all procedures to ensure the safety of residents, are doing everything possible, and because there are very few cases in their area, there is no need (for testing),” said executive director Ross Hughes. Representative of the Montana Health Care Association representing long-term care facilities.

The Koelsch community in Olympia, Washington, the operator of Canyon Creek, did not disclose why it refused the facility’s free testing. When the death began, 55 positive cases had been seen among 59 people living there. The company said it refused to test three residents who had symptoms in April and May after quarantine, but the test results were negative.

A few days after Governor Steve Bullock lifted some restrictions on medical institutions, the first positive cases were found, including a staff member and a resident. As the epidemic escalated, the Democratic Party issued a statewide emergency rule that made testing staff and residents a convenient condition for receiving visitors.

Koelsch communities operating in eight states have confirmed cases in at least 13 of its 39 facilities and reported 11 deaths elsewhere before the outbreak in Montana. The deaths of five of them occurred in El Rio Memory Care, Modesto, California in late June.

Company spokesman Chase Salyers (Chase Salyers) said that those living in Canyon Creek who are not infected will be isolated and staff and residents will be inspected.

Older people and people with pre-existing diseases are more susceptible to respiratory viruses. According to the Associated Press, more than 58,000 COVID-19 deaths involved nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This is more than 40% of the country’s more than 136,000 deaths.

There are no federal testing requirements, and the rules vary greatly from state to state.


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Albert Munanga, an affiliated faculty member at the University of Washington School of Nursing and Times Life Retirement Community, said that for an effective function to be effective, it needs to be tested before the outbreak, including residents and employees, and Repeat inspections on a regular basis, as staff come and go. .

Pam Donovan, who is a resident of Canyon Creek, said, “The jury has not yet established whether the facility should be tested earlier and whether it will help.”

Pam Donovan said that the retired sheriff, coroner Richard Donovan, had a negative reaction when he broke out in early July, but developed symptoms a few days later and was Take to hospital. She said his test returned positive on Friday.

Donovan said the only possible reason for refusing free tests is the difficulty of wiping residents with dementia.

She said: “This is the only thing I have in mind, put myself in the shoes.” “I don’t know if they will tell what the reason is.”

Managers at some facilities in Montana refused to conduct tests in May and June. They said that invasive nasal surgery can scare or make people with dementia ill. They pointed out that there were very few cases in the community at the time, and they were disinfecting surfaces, washing their hands and wearing masks. Some visitors are not allowed.

Ashley Samples, administrator of Bee Hive Homes in Columbia Falls, said he was concerned about false positives.

She said: “I think that if there is a more certain way to do this, I think we can absolutely.”

The bee said that the facilities of the bee hive are in a blocked state, and the staff must monitor the temperature and put on a mask, and the visit is through the open window.

Boliman’s Hyalite Rural Assisted Living initially decided not to test residents, partly because of the low infection rate in the state. Owner LeAnn Bunn said it was reconsidering.

After Canyon Creek broke out and the governor’s instructions, more than a dozen other facilities agreed to test residents and employees.

Testing began in mid-May, and not all signed facilities have completed testing.

Last week, Pam Donovan saw the first father since the visit was interrupted in March in a window in the emergency room.

Richard Donovan was 88 on Monday. A nurse put on protective equipment and walked into the room. When her daughter called, she hung the phone on her ear. Pam said it was heartbreaking, and she couldn’t understand what he was talking about.

She said: “It’s so difficult when you can’t see them yourself.”

Hansen reports from East Helena, Montana.


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