<&firstgraph>A Northfield Retirement Community assisted living facility resident has tested positive for the coronavirus.

<&firstgraph>Northfield Retirement Community President and CEO Kyle Nordine said the Cannon Valley Suites resident, who tested positive Wednesday, is isolated “and is being cared for by a specific and dedicated care team with proper personal protective equipment.”

<&firstgraph>HIPPA guidelines prohibit sharing the name of the resident, their condition or the symptoms the person showed.

<&firstgraph>Nordine on Friday said that no other positive cases have been identified at NRC, and additional tests on residents have been sent to the Minnesota Department of Health. NRC hadn’t received results as of Friday afternoon.

<&firstgraph>The news comes just a day before Rice County recorded its first COVID-19 related death, Pastor Craig Breimhorst.

<&firstgraph>“We are saddened to hear of our first COVID-19 death in Rice County. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this especially difficult time to lose a loved one,” says Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director.

<&firstgraph>Breimhorst’s name was not released by the county. He self-identified in a March 23 interview with the Faribault Daily News<&firstgraph>.

<&firstgraph>As of Friday, Rice County has had six lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 24 years of age to 89 years of age. Rice County COVID-19 data is updated regularly on the Rice County COVID-19 website, bit.ly/3ex1gpW<&firstgraph>.

<&firstgraph>Minnesota has had 2,071 lab confirmed cases with approximately 43,053 tests completed. 1,066 of the lab confirmed cases no longer need isolation. 518 of the cases have required hospitalization and there have been 111 deaths.

<&firstgraph>This death underscores the importance of protecting Rice County’s vulnerable population during this pandemic, said Purfeerst, who added that anyone can contract this disease and pass it on to others; everybody needs to take steps to protect the community, including following the Governor’s Stay At Home order, and social distancing of six feet.

<&firstgraph>To help stop the spread of COVID-19, NRC’s Nordine wants additional testing available immediately for all care facilities. He suggested the Legislature allocate specific additional funding for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

<&firstgraph>Nordine said for the past several weeks, NRC has practiced proactive infection control measures, screening procedures and visitor restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

<&firstgraph>NRC has been working with the Minnesota Department of Health and State Emergency Operations Center and other groups to reduce COVID-19 transmission by increasing testing, PPE and gaining quicker access to testing results. The facility is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommendations.

<&firstgraph>NRC is restricting residents from congregating in social spaces, requiring residents to stay in their rooms, and mandating that residents and care providers wear masks during care and when leaving their rooms. NRC is also monitoring residents’ daily temperatures and screening for symptoms. Staff are not allowed into the building if they are ill.

<&firstgraph>NRC has canceled all activities involving outside visitors.

<&firstgraph>“This is an extremely unfortunate event that one of our residents has fallen ill in spite of our significant efforts to keep everyone protected and healthy,” Nordine said. “With this current news, we are taking every step to treat this individual to seek a full recovery, and to keep all other residents and all staff safe as we are able.”

<&firstgraph>Public health officials have recommended isolation and continued care for those with coronavirus not requiring hospitalization.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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