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3 employees test positive for COVID-19 at Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Kalispell

Posted at 9:35 AM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-22 11:35:19-04

Three employees at Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Kalispell have tested positive for the coronavirus this week during required nasal swab testing put in place to protect residents.

Immanuel Lutheran President and CEO Jason Cronk said the three employees were notified immediately upon receipt of the initial positive test results Wednesday, and were ordered not to come to work. The test results were confirmed late Thursday evening.

Cronk said the Flathead County Health Department was immediately notified, as were the families of all Immanuel Lutheran Communities residents. Cronk said at the time the tests were administered Monday, none of the employees showed any symptoms,

“It is obviously a concern that we had positive tests among any of our employees especially when they did not show any symptoms, but due to the nature of this virus, it is something we anticipated could happen and we have prepared to deal with this possibility,” Cronk said.

Cronk tells MTN News that all employees and residents have since been tested, with nobody else showing symptoms at this time.

“We’re testing all of our residents and will send that to the lab in Helena, getting the results we expect in the next 48-to-72 hours, we will take next steps based on what we get from those tests,” said Cronk.

Cronk said all 300 full and part-time staff are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and face shields or goggles. Additionally, staff are required to social distance, and when possible, limit their time around fellow staff members to under 15 minutes.

When serving residents, staff members wear required PPE, and the resident is asked to wear a cloth face covering to eliminate possible spread.

Cronk said every ILC employee is screened at the beginning of each shift. The screening includes a temperature check and a series of questions to determine if they have any symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus outside of work.

All residents living in assisted living, the Lodge, the Immanuel Skilled Care Center and The Retreat are also screened every eight hours and monitored for symptoms. Residents living in independent living are asked to self-monitor.