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Two Fountain Circle employees positive for coronavirus

Two employees of Fountain Circle, a nursing home in Winchester, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Ann Bowdan Wilder, a Louisville spokesperson for Signature HealthCARE, the nursing home’s owner, on Thursday confirmed that an employee who has not worked at the facility since May 7 was found to have the virus, which can often be deadly.

She also said another employee at the nursing home off Van Meter Road had left work because of symptoms not associated with the coronavirus but had since also tested positive for the illness.

“What I can tell you is that’s not a Clark County resident,” County Public Health Director Becky Kissick said Thursday.

Wilder could not provide any personal information about either employee.

According to a news release Wilder provided, Signature HealthCARE learned Tuesday that the staff member who had not been at the facility since May 7 had tested positive.

“The facility also had another staff member, who is no longer working at the facility due to medical non-COVID symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, that staff member was also tested for COVID,” the press release states. “Today ,we learned that test came back positive.”

The release said no employee will return to work without “appropriate and verified medical clearance.”

Wilder said both of those who tested positive remain employees of the company but are not working inside the nursing home.

Currently, no residents of the nursing home have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Over the past several weeks, our facility has been aggressively proactive in implementing active measures” against the virus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, the company stated.

Part of this includes testing of all staff and residents throughout the facility in partnership with the state Department for Public Health and Norton Healthcare.

Signature HealthCARE at Fountain Circle, like all Kentucky nursing homes, will be conducting facility-wide testing. Once that testing begins, the company said, it expects the number of positive test results to increase as test results come in.

“The subsequent sudden increase in numbers we may see is not the result of an ‘outbreak.’ Conversely, it is the result of an intentional strategy to identify the presence of the virus in our facility and then to move swiftly to contain and prevent further spread,” according to the release.

This is the approach advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state public health officials and the White House, the press release noted.

“We’ve been closely monitoring all CDC and other government agency updates and following their directives, as well as employing appropriate and standard precautions and preventative measures against the virus, including but not limited to, restricting in person access to our facilities and screening all staff and residents, daily for any symptoms of the virus, several times each day and shift, and sending any staff with symptoms home. Should a resident develop any signs or symptoms, we will consult with the physician immediately and if needed, send them out for a higher level of care,” the press release stated. “We are working closely with the local health department and other government agencies in closely following all of their guidance on the virus. We are in close contact with our medical director, as well as our infectious disease nurse and physician, who are providing us guidance.”

The company said it has notified all residents, their responsible parties and its staff about the positive and potential cases. Per state and federal guidelines, they can only notify the responsible parties listed, not other family members.

According to the Clark County Health Department, there have been 20 positive coronavirus cases involving local residents, and none were currently active. The Health Department hasn’t reported a new case involving a local resident since April 29.

In his daily briefing Wednesday evening, Gov. Andy Beshear said the state was in a “plateau” with regard to new coronavirus cases. There were 227 new cases reported as of Wednesday, bringing the total to 7,080 in Kentucky.

There have been 326 coronavirus-related deaths in Kentucky as of Wednesday. Of that number, 187 of the deaths have been nursing home residents, or 57 percent of the total.

The governor said in his press conference that 52 percent of Kentuckians who have died of the virus have been over the age of 80, although that demographic accounts for only 9 percent of all cases.