CINCINNATI — The largest elder care service provider in the Tri-State area, Episcopal Retirement Services, is responding to its first case of COVID-19 Saturday after a part-time employee tested positive.
The staff member works at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community in Hyde Park, and is currently self-quarantining at home.
As COVID-19 cases grow daily in the Greater Cincinnati region, Laura Lamb, president and CEO of Episcopal Retirement Services said it has been closely following CDC guidelines and communicating with staff about proper procedures.
"We call them our heroes because they are caring for our most precious asset, our elders," said Lamb.
Episcopal Retirement Services employs roughly 800 people and serves more than 4,800 elderly people across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
After the employee tested positive, the agency said it sent a letter to residents and families explaining plans to double down on social distancing and increased cleaning practices.
Lamb said one priority for Episcopal Retirement Systems has been making sure front-line staff has the necessary protective equipment and hand sanitizer access. The organization is working to make masks available to residents as well, Lamb said. Family visits have been halted, except in end-of-life situations, and all staff members are now assigned to only one location to help prevent the spread of germs between buildings.
"The time is to double down, to really make sure that we are prepared for this because the safety and well-being of our residents and our staff are my absolute top priority," said Lamb.
Episcopal Retirement Services said it also checks the temperature of every employee when they get to work, and they're monitoring the temperature of every resident multiple times a day.
The Cincinnati Health Department said it is working with long-term care facilities in Cincinnati to help control the spread of COVID-19 and prevent transmission to the vulnerable populations living in those facilities.
"Each facility was surveyed in early March to help them assess their readiness for community transmission of COVID-19 before it was detected here by our Environmental Health Department. Communicable Disease nurses are communicating directly with each facility about infection control and prevention," said Marla Fuller, director of communications at the Cincinnati Health Department. "Facilities are asked to monitor all staff and residents daily for rise in temperature, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms. Preventing the transmission of COVID-19 to vulnerable populations is a top priority of the Cincinnati Health Department."