Church Hill

A total of 32 staff workers and residents in a Hawkins County skilled nursing facility tested positive for the COVID-19 virus this past weekend.

Thirteen employees and 19 residents at Church Hill Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center received positive test results from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The employees are off work at this time and will return following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health, according to Administrator Gina Harris.

“As we continue to navigate through this global health pandemic, changing all our lives and creating new challenges for those of us working in health care, we continue to remain committed and transparent to ensure our residents, their families, and our staff are informed every step of the way,” Harris said in a release.

“In an effort to diminish risk to our residents and healthcare workers and in accordance with executive orders issued by our governor, we have continued to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of our employees. In addition, we screen all employees upon arrival to work and mid-shift to ensure a healthy work environment. Any COVID positive lab results are promptly reported to the Department of Health to ensure appropriate actions are taken to safeguard both our employees and residents,” Harris said.

According to Harris, last week’s COVID mass testing included approximately 100 employee tests. Over the weekend, the facility was notified by the Department of Health of 13 COVID positive employee test results. These employees reported mild or no symptoms of illness prior to testing.

In addition, the facility received 19 COVID positive residents test results.

“We continue to conduct frequent monitoring and screening of our residents. The residents affected have been quarantined since the first symptoms were observed, and we are happy to share all residents are doing well,” Harris said. “We have worked diligently the last several months to safeguard our facility. We believe testing the residents and employees will assist us in identifying any asymptomatic cases; helping limit the risk to our residents.”

Harris went on to express appreciation to Church Hill Healthcare and Rehabilitation’s healthcare team for their efforts to keep COVID-19 under control.

“We are very proud of our healthcare team who remains dedicated to providing loving, professional care to our residents. Our team members are truly ‘Healthcare Heroes.’ We are extremely appreciative of our family members and friends who have braced our facility by supporting our team with kind gestures of food, cards, donations and other well wishes,” she said.

She also expressed appreciation to the Church Hill community for their support during this time. Harris also asked for continued prayers.

“Thank you to our community for your continued understanding and support as we strive to keep our residents and healthcare workers safe and free of the COVID virus. For all the support during these unprecedented times, we sincerely thank you. Please continue to pray for the residents and employees of our facility and others across the nation as we work to provide loving care for the most vulnerable entrusted to us,” Harris said.

Those with questions and concerns may contact Harris at 423-357-7178, extension 3200.

“Our mission is to keep the residents, families, staff and community informed,” Harris said.

Dr. David Kirschke, regional medical director of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office in Johnson City said that there is a lot of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the community.

“Everyone needs to be more careful in public,” Kirschke said. “There is a lot of (COVID-19) circulating in the community and there was just more opportunity for the healthcare staff to bring it into the facility.”

Kirschke said that the trajectory for COVID-19 is trending upward.BY WADE LITTLETON

Tribune Staff Writer

A total of 32 staff workers and residents in a Hawkins County skilled nursing facility tested positive for the COVID-19 virus this past weekend.

Thirteen employees and 19 residents at Church Hill Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center received positive test results from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The employees are off work at this time and will return following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health, according to Administrator Gina Harris.

“As we continue to navigate through this global health pandemic, changing all our lives and creating new challenges for those of us working in health care, we continue to remain committed and transparent to ensure our residents, their families, and our staff are informed every step of the way,” Harris said in a release.

“In an effort to diminish risk to our residents and healthcare workers and in accordance with executive orders issued by our governor, we have continued to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of our employees. In addition, we screen all employees upon arrival to work and mid-shift to ensure a healthy work environment. Any COVID positive lab results are promptly reported to the Department of Health to ensure appropriate actions are taken to safeguard both our employees and residents,” Harris said.

According to Harris, last week’s COVID mass testing included approximately 100 employee tests. Over the weekend, the facility was notified by the Department of Health of 13 COVID positive employee test results. These employees reported mild or no symptoms of illness prior to testing.

In addition, the facility received 19 COVID positive residents test results.

“We continue to conduct frequent monitoring and screening of our residents. The residents affected have been quarantined since the first symptoms were observed, and we are happy to share all residents are doing well,” Harris said. “We have worked diligently the last several months to safeguard our facility. We believe testing the residents and employees will assist us in identifying any asymptomatic cases; helping limit the risk to our residents.”

Harris went on to express appreciation to Church Hill Healthcare and Rehabilitation’s healthcare team for their efforts to keep COVID-19 under control.

“We are very proud of our healthcare team who remains dedicated to providing loving, professional care to our residents. Our team members are truly ‘Healthcare Heroes.’ We are extremely appreciative of our family members and friends who have braced our facility by supporting our team with kind gestures of food, cards, donations and other well wishes,” she said.

She also expressed appreciation to the Church Hill community for their support during this time. Harris also asked for continued prayers.

“Thank you to our community for your continued understanding and support as we strive to keep our residents and healthcare workers safe and free of the COVID virus. For all the support during these unprecedented times, we sincerely thank you. Please continue to pray for the residents and employees of our facility and others across the nation as we work to provide loving care for the most vulnerable entrusted to us,” Harris said.

Those with questions and concerns may contact Harris at 423-357-7178, extension 3200.

“Our mission is to keep the residents, families, staff and community informed,” Harris said.

Dr. David Kirschke, regional medical director of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office in Johnson City said that there is a lot of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the community.

“Everyone needs to be more careful in public,” Kirschke said. “There is a lot of (COVID-19) circulating in the community and there was just more opportunity for the healthcare staff to bring it into the facility.”

Kirschke said that the trajectory for COVID-19 is trending upward.