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Topeka resident, employee has tested positive for COVID-19

An essential health care worker and a resident at Topeka Presbyterian Manor have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As the percentage of positive cases in Shawnee County rises, we remain vigilant in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees,” said Jeanne Gerstenkorn, PMMA’s infection preventionist and vice president for health and wellness.

The employee last worked Sunday, October 18, and began to experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on Monday. The employee sought a test at Stormont Vail on Wednesday, which was positive. As a precaution, the residents in the area where the employee last worked were placed in isolation and employees who had direct contact with the COVID-positive employee have been placed in quarantine.

The resident was administered a rapid point-of-care test on-site, which was positive. While we work to confirm this diagnosis, the resident is self-isolating and close contacts have been asked to quarantine until confirmation of the positive test is received. We follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and confirm any positive rapid tests with a follow-up standard COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the initial rapid test. If the positive case is confirmed, we will notify you that the case has been confirmed.

The Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Epidemiology Hotline have been notified. The health department recommends contact tracing and testing all employees and health care residents. Those tests will take place on October 26. We will also continue with weekly testing of employees.  In addition, we have suspended family visitation, group activities and communal dining pending the results of testing next week.

The employee who tested positive for the virus is recovering at home and will remain in isolation until cleared to return to work by the Health Department. 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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