Two residents of a Northfield assisted living facility have recovered after testing positive for the coronavirus three weeks ago.

Northfield Retirement Community President and CEO Kyle Nordine said the Cannon Valley Suites residents were cleared from isolation April 30. The ages of the residents have not been released because of HIPAA laws. NRC has been unable to determine how they were infected. No other cases at the facility have been reported.

NRC officials have spoken with the Minnesota Department of Health several times a week since the two cases were confirmed, and a case manager has been assigned to NRC. Its staff has been working with the State Emergency Operations Center and other groups to reduce COVID-19 transmission by increasing testing, personal protective equipment and gaining quicker access to testing results and is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommendations.

“We just don’t know when something could show up again,” Nordine said.

He added “it would be great” if testing, currently centered on those showing COVID-19 symptoms, could be expanded to include people who are asymptomatic, but that is not possible right now because of testing shortages.

According to the Department of Health, as of Wednesday, Rice County had 30 COVID-19 cases and one death. Across the state, 8,579 Minnesota residents have been infected with the coronavirus, and of that number, more than 5,000 no longer need isolation.

Long-term care facilities have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Of the 485 deaths MDH attributes to the virus in Minnesota, 391 have been people residing in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

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

NRC has canceled all activities involving outside visitors.

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

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