COVID-19 outbreak at Prairie View

More than a dozen have tested positive

By Per Peterson

After 10 months of COVID-free living under strict infection control procedures, the global pandemic has infiltrated the walls and halls of the Prairie View Senior Living Center.

Prairie View Senior Living Executive Director Brian Hinrichs has confirmed there are more than 12 current cases of COVID-19 at the facility, which is owned by Accura Health.

In a letter sent to residents and their family members, Hinrichs said one staff member and 10 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. The first confirmed case, Hinrichs said Monday, was back on Dec. 13, and the facility has been closed to all visitors since. More cases were confirmed this past Sunday, and Hinrichs said late Monday that the total number of confirmed cases had ticked up since then.

“We did not have a resident outbreak until now,” Hinrichs said. “We made it 10 months. We were of a handful in the state that, until now, had not had a resident outbreak.”

Hinrichs said it was hard not to believe there would eventually be an outbreak at the facility.

“We knew it was probably inevitable,” he said. “To make it 10 months is quite an achievement.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Prairie View, and O’Brien Court as well, have been working diligently to keep their facilities clean and sanitized and their residents as safe as possible. Hinrichs said those efforts have doubled since the initial case was confirmed. Cindy Swenhaugen, lead office coordinator at O’Brien Court, said Monday there have been no COVID-19 cases at that facility.

“We’re doing much more frequent cleaning of all high-touch surfaces,” he said. “We’re wearing more isolation gowns and N95 masks throughout the facility.”

The residents’ set-up has also changed dramatically. All residents who have tested positive have been moved to their own hall; presumptive-positive residents have been moved to their own hall, too, and the well residents are in their own hall. The holidays at Prairie View have for many at the facility been put on hold, since residents have been segregated.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.