ALBERT LEA, Minnesota - In the last ten days, the number of coronavirus-related deaths linked to outbreaks in long-term care facilities has jumped from 450 to over 3,300.
In Minnesota, most coronavirus patients live in a private residence, but long-term care facilities, acute living, and assisted living spaces account for at least 14% of all cases. And typically, those living in a long-term care facility are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
There are three facilities in Southeastern Minnesota that have had exposures either from a resident, staff member or visiting service provider. Those are Rochester East Health Services, Rochester Rehabilitation and Living Center in Olmsted County, and Fountain Centers in Freeborn County.
In Albert Lea, the Thorne Crest Senio Living Community is not on the list of facilities with exposure. However, they have stepped up their precautions. Those include no visitors unless if there is an end of life scenario, social distancing measures, and more restrictions for the facility's staff, including wearing masks, and limiting transportation to needs like appointments. Jeff Hongslo is the President/CEO of American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, which oversees Thorne Crest.
"Every employee that comes in has to fill out a questionnaire as far as if they're feeling sick, and they're getting their temperature taken. That way we're ensured that they're healthy in order to come in to work."
"What they're doing is the work that needs to be done to keep themselves safe, and the residents safe, and that's our number one priority."
Like many, Hongslo is hoping things to return to normal soon, including the resumption of social gatherings.
"That's something we really need to get back to when the opportunity arises."