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Essential health care worker tests positive for COVID-19

An essential health care worker at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor tested positive for COVID-19 in the community’s first round of surveillance testing for the virus.

This case of COVID-19 was detected during Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated surveillance testing of our employees. Surveillance testing requires all employees, agency employees, volunteers, hospice, lab and therapy providers at our campus to be tested on a frequency determined by our county’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate. Based on our county positivity rate for COVID-19 tests, Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor is surveillance testing twice a week.

“Surveillance testing is another tool in the fight against COVID-19 as we continue to work to keep our residents and employees safe and healthy,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s infection preventionist and vice president for health and wellness.

The employee worked September 7 and was one of 115 tested on September 8 in the first round of surveillance testing. The results were received September 11. The employee last worked September 11 and passed the employee pre-shift screening. When the community was notified of the positive result, the employee was immediately notified and sent home. Results are pending for a second round of testing September 10 for the campus’ 115 employees.

The residents in the health care center have been placed in isolation and employees are taking COVID-19 precautions, which include wearing PPE such as gowns, gloves, surgical masks and eye protection. Any employees identified will be quarantined.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its definition of direct contact as being within 6 feet of a person for 15 minutes or longer.

Families, residents and employees have been notified regarding the positive employee.

Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor will follow CDC and KDHE guidelines for when an employee may return to work. Under the current guidelines, symptomatic employees may return to work when at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of the employee’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the employee’s symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Asymptomatic positive employees will quarantine for 14 days. Upon the employee’s return to work, we will follow CDC recommendations related to work practices and restrictions.

All employees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. We have been screening employees as they enter the community building for a shift and before employees have any direct contact with residents. We educate all staff to stay at home if they are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well.

For more information about Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor’s response, go to PMMA’s (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s) website,

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