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Second essential health care worker tests positive for COVID-19

A second essential health care worker at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor tested positive for COVID-19 in the community’s surveillance testing for the virus September 16.

Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor is conducting two rounds of surveillance testing for employees each week in compliance with a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate. CMS’ surveillance testing requires all employees, agency employees, volunteers, hospice, lab and therapy providers at our campus to be tested on a frequency determined by Cowley County’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate.  The campus tested 112 employees, and received 1 positive and 111 negative test results. This brings the total number of cases at the community to 4, with 2 employees and 2 residents.

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

The employee, who has been wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended, worked September 14 in memory care. The employee called in on Tuesday, September 15, and reported feeling signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The employee was instructed to come to the campus on Wednesday for a drive-through COVID-19 test. The positive result was received late Thursday, September 17.

The Cowley County Health Department has been notified. The health department recommends testing memory care residents when the community conducts its next round of surveillance testing September 18. Health care, assisted living and independent living residents also will be tested as previously announced.

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

The COVID positive employees will remain in quarantine off campus until cleared to return by the Cowley County Health Department.

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 and residents 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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