Long-term care facility under public health investigation in Eau Claire

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:12 PM CDT
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According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a facility-wide public health investigation at a long-term care facility is started after a single confirmed case of COVID-19.

There are 58 active nursing home investigations in the state, including one in Eau Claire County at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire.

There have been a total of three facility-wide public health investigations in Eau Claire County.

One at a workplace, one at a group home, and one at a long-term care facility, Dove Healthcare South.

"The presence of COVID-19 doesn't mean that the long-term care facility is doing something wrong or not following procedure. It does mean that there has been a positive test there and they are working with us to ensure that those numbers do not grow," said Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese.

An employee at Dove tested positive for coronavirus last week, according to Dove Healthcare.

The facility says it worked closely with the health department to identify people who came in contact with the person who tested positive.

In a statement sent to WEAU, as well as all residents, employees, and primary points of contact at Dove South Center, Administrator Ashley Smetana says in part,

"I appreciate your understanding as we continue to uphold the state's decision to restrict all visits into the facility at this time. This is certainly frustrating when wanting to see loved ones, but we want to do everything we can to keep our residents healthy. We continue to encourage family members to communicate regularly through FaceTime or Skype calls, phone calls, and emails."

Earlier this month the DHS announced it was releasing the names of skilled nursing facilities with public health investigations.

A move it says was made to bring peace of mind to loved ones.

The current investigation at Dove Healthcare - South Eau Claire is currently the only active long-term care facility investigation in western Wisconsin.

"We are daily impressed with not only how they are partnering with us on testing and on disease control measures, but also on working with us to make sure that this vulnerable population is protected in many, many ways," said Giese.

There have been 186 public health investigations at long-term care facilities in Wisconsin.

79 facilities have only had one confirmed case, while 120 had fewer than five confirmed cases.

Dove says the employee did not get coronavirus from the facility, and the employee will not be allowed back until ten days after the test or ten days after symptoms go away.