The results of the second round of COVID-19 testing at Northern Light Continuing Care in Mars Hill are in, and no additional cases were detected. The testing was done after one worker at the facility tested positive for COVID.

About 200 residents and employees were tested by the hospital on July 14 in rapid response to the positive test of a worker who became symptomatic. All those tested were negative for the first round of tests, and following CDC protocol, a second round of tests were conducted on July 21. All again remain negative.

“This is truly a testament to the importance of hand hygiene, masking and the appropriate use of other personal protective equipment as needed,” said Jay Reynolds, MD, senior physician executive at the hospital. “It also shows that the many safety protocols we have in place are successful for protecting our residents, patients, and staff.”

One of those safety steps is a screening anytime anyone enters one of AR Gould’s facilities; this includes daily screenings of all employees. The screening includes basic questions and a temperature check. It is due to this aggressive screening process that the worker’s symptoms were quickly identified and the individual received a COVID test before being able to return to work.

“The screening process was key in identifying the issue quickly, and then thanks to masking and PPE, no one this individual cared for or worked with before being diagnosed has gotten the virus,” said Reynolds.

Now that residents and employees are cleared, the facility has gone back to “COVID-normal” procedures. This means, among other things, that they are once again accepting new patients, as well as discharging patients who are ready to go home or to move to a facility closer to home.

Continuing Care remains closed for visitors other than end-of-life circumstances. However, the facility is working diligently to introduce opportunities for in-person outdoor visits. This step was initially to begin earlier this month but was postponed due to the positive COVID case. More information will be released on this in coming days.

“In a time when some are questioning the value of masking, this underscores how effective it can be when all are doing it,” reminded Reynolds. Other key safety tips include proper hand hygiene (washing with soap and hot water or sanitizing) and keeping a physical distance of six feet from others whenever possible.

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