COVID-19 cases at Bridge Haven Memory Care are all past the infectious stage, executive director says

photo by: Peggy Bennally

Bridge Haven Memory Care, pictured, is located at 1701 Research Park Drive.

Four staff members and four residents at Bridge Haven Memory Care have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the facility’s executive director. But those eight cases are all past the infectious period, and continued testing at the long-term care facility has shown negative results, Executive Director Sarah Randolph told the Journal-World Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment released locations of active COVID-19 outbreaks in the state. Bridge Haven Memory Care, 1701 Research Park Drive, was one of four sites listed for Douglas County, in addition to Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab, the University of Kansas football team and the Baker University men’s soccer team.

Randolph said that immediately upon receiving the positive test results, information was shared with staff and residents’ families. Randolph said they did not share the information publicly because the memory care facility had not allowed any visitors since March. She said the situation was a danger only to residents and staff members.

Bridge Haven Memory Care specializes in the personal care of residents living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The organization has three buildings, and the outbreak took place at only one of those buildings. The memory care facility decided to test staff and the nine residents in that building for COVID-19 on Aug. 18 after one resident started to cough. The nursing staff noticed that the resident’s cough sounded dry and that coughing was unusual for that person, Randolph said.

“It was just enough to have our staff say, ‘Huh, why don’t we worry about this?'” Randolph said.

Despite some mild coughs, Randolph said, the facility was surprised by the lack of symptoms in residents who tested positive for the virus. Residents who tested positive did not have a fever or show a drop in oxygen levels, Randolph said, which are things the facility tests residents for every four hours.

Residents who tested positive were isolated within their individual rooms, and staff members who tested positive were sent home to quarantine.

Randolph said communication between the local health department and KDHE has been great, her staff has been working hard and families of residents have been supportive.

She also said that while COVID-19 greatly changed policies and procedures at Bridge Haven Memory Care, it did not affect the way staff interacts with their residents.

“We would just jump into whatever pond they were swimming in, and that’s how it’s always been,” Randolph said.

If a resident doesn’t believe in the virus and thinks staff members look like aliens in their personal protective equipment, then Raldoph said “we’re having an alien party” in the resident’s room that day.

Bridge Haven Memory Care currently has 33 residents in its three houses.


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