JAMESTOWN – A resident at Heritage Park is in isolation after receiving a “presumptive” positive COVID-19 test result earlier this week.
WNYNewsNow spoke with Jeremy Rutter, who is the Chief Clinical Officer for Heritage Ministries, Friday morning. Rutter says the results came after the State Department of Health came to test all of the residents throughout Chautauqua County around two weeks ago as part of the State’s mandated testing. The resident, who Rutter says was asymptomatic, was moved to the organization’s special quarantine area.
Rutter says the resident is “managing very well” with the situation.
Rutter says a “presumed” positive test involves a “low viral load” and that the virus only reacted on one of the three viral targets. The chief says that is based off of information that he’s received from other health experts.
Rutter says that Heritage Ministries is performing several steps to protect the community at-large.
“It is concerning. COVID is a terrible disease, terrible pandemic, (and) it’s very contagious,” Rutter said. “As such, we’ve taken pretty significant steps to ensure the safety of our residents, our employees and the public.”
Rutter tells WNYNewsNow that the organization has established a “dedicated COVID unit,” which includes a completely separate entrance, staff, bathroom, etc.
“Everything that goes in (to the unit) is disposable,” Rutter said. “The staff working in there is dedicated (to the unit). They won’t work anywhere else in the nursing home until the COVID unit is closed. That staff member will then be tested for COVID prior to returning to work.”
“We’re taking extreme measures. Enhanced personal protective….”
Rutter also notes that the staff is tested once a week as part of a mandate previously issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo. In addition, Rutter says most of the residents agreed to be tested despite having the right to refuse.
The official says that the one “presumptive” positive result does not reflect the overall quality of care that the organization is providing during the pandemic.
Rutter says he can’t discuss specifics of this individual’s case because of HIPAA, but he did say that a person wouldn’t typically receive treatment if they’re asymptomatic. Currently, any resident who could potentially test positive despite being asymptomatic would need to be isolated for 14 days.
Rutter tells WNYNewsNow that the entire staff was notified of the result within 24 hours.