A Heart & Soul Hospice of Wichita direct-patient care employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is quarantined at home. Heart & Soul Hospice is a program of PMMA (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America).
The employee last worked December 14 and passed self-screening. The employee tested positive with a rapid point-of-care (POC) test December 15.
“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and employees,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s infection preventionist and vice president for health and wellness.
The hospice notified the Sedgwick County Health Department and performed contact tracing to determine who the employee had contact with during the last shift worked. The hospice will follow any guidance from the Sedgwick County Health Department and the CDC.
Heart & Soul Hospice employees have been self-screening at the beginning of their shifts before the employees have had any direct contact with patients. In addition, employees also go through screening at each senior living community or hospital where they provide hospice care.
All employees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. Because hospice employees visit patients where they live, they wear masks and gloves with each patient. The hospice regularly reinforces with all employees that an employee should not report to work if he or she is experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well.
The employee will remain in isolation until cleared to work by the Sedgwick County Health Department. We will follow CDC and KDHE guidelines for when COVID-positive employees may return to work. Under the current guidelines, symptomatic employees may return to work when at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of the employee’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the employee’s symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Asymptomatic positive employees will quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Upon the employee’s return to work, we will follow CDC recommendations related to work practices and restrictions.
Heart & Soul Hospice employees are included in the recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement for surveillance testing of employees who work regularly in skilled nursing facilities. Heart & Soul Hospice employees will be tested based on the transmission rate for COVID-19 in Sedgwick County or the county in which they are seeing patients.
For more information about Heart & Soul Hospice of Farmington’s response, go to PMMA’s (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s) website, presbyterianmanors.org/media-room.