WARREN TAYLOR | Citizen Staff
Bourbon Heights Nursing Home has had 44 residents and 15 staff members test positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks, according to a letter posted to the facility’s website on Dec. 21.
“To care for all residents that have tested positive, we have created a COVID isolation unit located on our personal care unit that extends over into unit 2. For many, this has disturbed everyday life, and we thank you for your patience and understanding during these trying times,” the letter says.
The letter goes on to say that when a resident tests positive, they are placed in the isolation unit. A resident is released from isolation if they have been fever-free for 72 hours without medicine, if they have shown improvement of any respiratory symptoms over a ten-day period and have tested negative. Residents exposed to the virus, are returning from the hospital or have been released from isolation are required to quarantine for an additional 14 days and may leave if they show no symptoms.
The facility also states in the letter that it is following all CDC and health department guidelines such as “ wearing N95 or K-N95 with surgical masks underneath as extra protection, eye protection, as well as employee screenings and temperature monitoring.” All residents and employees are tested twice a week. The facility is also currently closed to visitors.
So far, Bourbon Heights has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, but the letters says that the facility has ordered it and is awaiting a delivery date.
The outbreak’s exact origin is hard to pin down, but it was most likely brought in from the outside.
“Obviously, the residents are not coming in or leaving the facility,” said Andrea Brown of the Bourbon County Health Department. “The staff, who are tested regularly, they come and go, they go home, and they don’t spend the night there. It has not been determined specifically where the virus started because there are a handful of staff who are positive…Unfortunately, we can’t get down to the ground level that far with so many staff coming in and out.”
Brown also said that with the local and national surge in cases during the fall and early winter that it is laudable that Bourbon Heights was able to prevent an outbreak for so long.
“I want to give a shout out to Bourbon Heights for really working hard and keeping it under control for such a long time. So many of the other long term care facilities got hit hard early on in the pandemic, and I feel like Bourbon Heights has done a great job. They held on for a very long time before they got their first case. They’ve done a remarkable job,” she said.