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Two essential health care workers tests positive for COVID-19

Two essential health care worker at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

“We continue to strive to keep our residents and employees healthy and safe,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s infection preventionist and vice president for health and wellness.

Both employees tested positive with rapid point-of-care tests on Thursday, October 22. We follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and confirm any positive rapid test within 48 hours with a follow-up standard COVID-19 test.

The first employee last worked Wednesday, October 21 and passed the pre-shift screening. The employee called in and reported not feeling well prior to a scheduled shift on October 22. The employee came to the campus for a drive-through rapid point-of-care test, which was positive. A standard COVID-19 test was administered.

The second employee last worked October 22 and passed the pre-shift screening. The employee began to feel unwell during their shift and reported to the supervisor. The employee was administered a rapid point-of-care test and sent to their car to await results. When the positive result was received, a second test was administered.

Both tests were sent to our partner lab for confirmation on October 23 and the results were received Saturday morning.

The positive cases were reported to the Cowley County Health Department. The health department recommends testing all health care residents next week. Due to the increase in cases in Cowley County, employee surveillance testing will be conducted next week as well.

The increase in positive cases in the county will also affect visitation. Visitation is paused in the health care center and remains paused for memory care. Indoor visitors for independent living and assisted living will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 2-3 days of their visit.

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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