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Employees, residents at Topeka test positive for COVID-19

Days after an essential health care worker and a health resident tested positive for COVID-19 with rapid point-of-care tests, Topeka Presbyterian Manor received news of 4 additional COVID-positive residents and 6 additional COVID-positive employees after testing staff and health care residents on October 23.

“Our focus is on the health and safety of our residents and employees,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s infection preventionist and vice president for health and wellness.

The campus received confirmation on the first two positive cases over the weekend. Results from mass testing on Friday by the Shawnee County Health Department were received Monday morning. The campus tested 175 residents and employees on Friday, October 23.

Two of the employees are not involved in providing direct resident care and 4 are direct care employees in health care or assisted living. All four residents live in the health care center. None of those newly diagnosed residents and employees are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19. These cases bring our 7-day total to 5 residents and 7 employees.

Due to the number of cases, the campus is now considered a COVID-19 cluster. A cluster is two or more non-household cases associated with a location in a specified period of time.

The COVID positive residents will remain in isolation and be cared for by designated staff. We will follow CDC and KDHE guidelines for when the residents may come out of isolation. Under the current guidelines, symptomatic residents may leave isolation when at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of the resident’s fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and the resident’s symptoms  have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Asymptomatic positive residents will quarantine for 14 days. Rapid Response Team members are following doctor’s orders for treatment protocols and following CDC infection prevention protocols.

The Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Epidemiology Hotline have been notified. The KDHE Epidemiology Hotline recommends testing all health care and assisted living residents and all campus staff on Wednesday, October 28. Presbyterian Manor will follow any additional guidance from the Shawnee County Health Department.

The employees who tested positive for the virus are recovering at home and will remain in isolation until cleared to return to work. We follow CDC and KDHE guidelines in determining when an employee may return to work. Per KDHE and CDC guidelines, team members may return to work once they have been symptom free for 72 hours without the aid of a fever reducer and demonstrate improvement in respiratory symptoms, and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.  Upon their return to work, we will follow CDC recommendations related to work practices and restrictions.

All employees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. The community regularly reinforces with all staff that an employee should not report to work if he or she is experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well.

For more information about Topeka Presbyterian Manor’s response, go to PMMA’s (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s) website,

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