More than 20 residents, employees at Columbiana facility test positive for COVID-19

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – More than 20 residents and employees at a long-term care facility in Columbiana have tested positive for COVID-19.

Fifteen residents and seven employees at Columbiana Health and Rehabilitation tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a press release from NHS Management, the facility’s parent company.

As a proactive effort to prevent and contain the spread of the virus, the facility’s management had received special permission from health care authorities to test all of its residents and employees for the virus, regardless of whether they met the health department’s criteria for COVID-19 testing, according to Joe Perkins, spokesperson for NHS Management.

“If we didn’t test everybody, we couldn’t effectively try to control the spread of the virus,” Perkins said.

Of the facility’s 15 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, only two displayed symptoms of the virus. Four of the seven employees who have tested positive displayed symptoms.

Perkins said these numbers are cumulative, meaning they represent the total number of positive cases the facility has received since it started testing all of its residents and employees in March.

“As test results come in, we are taking every step to care for and treat those who test positive and using all measures at our disposal to protect those who test negative from contracting the virus,” the release read.

Residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been isolated, as medical authorities make decisions on a case-by-case basis regarding where each resident should be treated.

Employees who have tested positive or exhibited symptoms have been sent home immediately for a minimum 14-day self-isolation period.

“Any new folks we get in will be tested, and any new employees we bring in will be tested,” Perkins said, adding every employee on every shift has been screened since the second week of March. Residents are screened multiple times every day throughout the day for any signs or symptoms of the virus.

The facility is also following sanitation and cleaning guidelines to ensure it is doing “everything possible to control the spread of the virus,” Perkins said.

“Since the onset of this emergency, management has consulted with leading epidemiologists in the field and gone beyond all required protocols to protect our residents and our employees,” the release read. “Finally, no one can fully appreciate the dedication of our staff who day after day come to work in the most trying conditions of the past century to provide the care required for our most vulnerable citizens.”