Mower County seeks assistance from Minnesota National Guard after COVID-19 outbreak at Austin long-term care center

A COVID-19 outbreak at Sacred Heart Care Center in Austin has prompted Mower County to seek assistance from the Minnesota National Guard.

Mower County Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg said that the state defines an outbreak in a long-term care facility as one case.  Kellogg stated that Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik contacted the State Emergency Operation Center for assistance Thursday, October 8th. In response, the state provided Sacred Heart with five National Guardsmen, consisting of one registered nurse and four medical technicians. They will be assigned to the facility for two weeks and will be working 12-hour shifts, though Kellogg indicated that may be adjusted as time goes on.

Sacred Heart Care Center Administrator Chris Schulz stated that steps that have been taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19 at the facility have included mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for staff and residents, antigen testing for anyone with symptoms or who came in close contact with someone who has symptoms, no inside visits to the facility, mandatory quarantine of staff members who have tested positive, required use of goggles, facemasks and other PPE by all staff within the facility, daily temperature taking of all staff members and twice daily temperatures and oxygen stats for residents.

Schulz went on to state that the residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 are isolated from the rest of the community and treated in their recovery by a designated staff team. 

Kellogg indicated that two other long-term care facilities in Mower County are also dealing with active COVID-19 cases.