News And Events

Covid-19 Plan

We at St. Francis Health Services of Morris take caring for your loved ones very seriously.

In response to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have aggressively implemented prevention and preparedness activities in all of our care centers (nursing homes, assisted livings, and group homes).

These interventions are intended to address the risk for our residents and employees from contracting and spreading the COVID-19.  We continue to follow guidelines provided to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies.

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Restricting all visitors effective immediately, with the exception of compassionate care. Essential visits are determined and evaluated case-by-case.
  • Restricting all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel.  Some volunteers have been assigned to screening tasks and limited to entry.

Infection Control Practices

  • We are monitoring our residents for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection and will work with our providers if someone becomes symptomatic.
  • We are following the guidelines of quarantine when a resident is newly admitted, been out of the care center, or been exposed to individuals at risk.
  • We have limited essential entrance to the building to one location.
  • We are actively monitoring and screening all employees/contractors upon entry into each of the care centers.
  • We have cancelled all group activities including communal dining.
  • We are practicing social distancing within each of our care centers.
  • We ask all deliveries be left at the care center identified door exterior entrance.

Status of COVID-19 Monitoring

  • We continue to monitor for updates, changes, and recommendations on a daily basis from all legitimate sources.
  • We have a designated team that is reviewing and updating infection prevention practices and emergency preparedness activities.
  • We are in contact with our local and state health department and emergency preparedness contacts.
  • We will continue to update residents, families, and this website as new information becomes available.

Trusted Resources for Official Updates:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-new-measures-protect-nursing-home-residents-covid-19 

Minnesota Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Thanksgiving

Dear Family and Friends,

We recently learned that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the federal Medicare agency (CMS) are advising against residents leaving their care center for holiday visits. As we continue to fight against COVID-19, we ask that you not take your loved ones out this Thanksgiving.

By not taking your loved one out for a holiday visit, you will help us in protecting the health of everyone who lives and works here. One of the best things that you can do for your family this holiday season is to not gather in groups and keep everyone safe by wearing a facemask when you do.

We know just how special the holiday season can be and spending time with family is what adds meaning to our celebrations. However, we need your help to protect our residents, our staff, and yourself during this pandemic’s risky time by limiting our contact with the broader community. As Governor Walz told us the other night, the COVID-19 surge is at a dangerous level in Minnesota.

This past year has been a challenge like no other and we deeply appreciate the sacrifices that you and your family have already made during these past months. The hope of a COVID-19 vaccine is promising, but until that time we all need to use extra caution to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease.

If a resident does choose to go to a holiday gathering outside of our care center, the resident will need to quarantine in his or her room for 14-days after returning as a necessary precaution. Even when being very careful and following all of the guidelines, the risk of being infected when being out in the general public is high.

Our staff is committed to keeping you connected during the holiday seasons. We have a variety of activities planned that will engage our residents and are doing all we can to facilitate alternative means of communication between you and your loved one. If you have any gifts or cards you would like to give to your loved one or wish to schedule a virtual visit, please contact Mary Olander at (218) 927-5510.

We know that this news may cause concern or that you may have questions about what we are doing to keep everyone safe and healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at (218) 927-5514 or almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org.

Sincerely,

Ali Meyer

Weekly Update

Dear Family and Friends,

We conducted surveillance testing 11/17/2020 with all staff and all tests came back negative. Our next round of testing will take place on 11/24/2020. We continue to work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and are following COVID-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Our county positivity rate has risen above 10% putting our care center in the “red zone.” According to CMS calculations, all Minnesota counties, but four, are now in the “red zone.” Being in the “red zone” requires our care center to routinely test our staff twice weekly. We are also required to suspend all indoor visits at this time. We encourage you to use alternate ways to connect with your loved ones such as Zoom, Facebook Portal, Phone, and Facetiming. To schedule your visit or for more information on our visitation policy, please contact Mary Olander at (218) 927-5510.

With hospital beds nearing capacity and healthcare staffing shortages, Governor Walz issued even more COVID restrictions this week. Restaurants, breweries, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and bars will be take-out only. Gyms will close and organized indoor sports will be suspended. We need your help to control the spread of the virus in our community. We encourage you to use masks, social distance and abide by the Governor’s Orders.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Results of Entire-Site Testing

Dear Family and Friends,

We conducted point prevalence testing (PPT) on 11/10/2020. All of our Residents came back negative. We did have one staff member come back positive. This individual staff member has not worked in our building since November 3rd. Our next round of testing will take place on 11/13/2020. We continue to work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and are following COVID-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Our county positivity rate has passed 10%. Following CMS guidelines, we are now required to routinely test staff twice weekly. Only staff will be tested again on 11/13/2020. Due to our high county positivity rate, we are still unable to resume indoor visitation.

This week Governor Walz announced new COVID-19 restrictions. These include earlier bar and restaurant closing times and 10 person limits on all indoor and outdoor gatherings. We encourage everyone in their efforts to control the spread of the virus including wearing masks, social distancing and the recent turning back of the dial by the State.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

NO NEW COVID CASES!

Dear Family and Friends,

We conducted routine staff testing on 11/3/2020. We are excited to announce that all staff and residents that tested our negative. Our next round of testing will take place on 11/10/2020. We follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Our top priority is to support and protect our residents and dedicated caregivers. We have equipped our staff with the training and supplies needed to provide safe, quality care, services and support to our residents. We continue to urge everyone to practice proper hand hygiene and safe physical distancing.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

1 Staff Member Positive for COVID-19

Dear Family and Friends,

We conducted routine staff testing on 10/27/2020. During the routine testing we had one staff member test positive for COVID-19.  These results prompt us to initiate weekly point prevalence testing (PPT) for all residents and staff.  Testing will take place on 11/03/2020. We follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

In the event we have any residents test positive, we would activate our COVID unit. The unit is segregated from the rest of our community. The designated staff that care for residents in this unit remain within the area and do not have physical contact with other non-segregated residents. Any staff who test positive will be self-quarantined at home and will not be allowed to return to work until they recover from the virus; 10 days following positive test and 72 hours from last fever without using medication. Our staff are equipped with specific training and PPE to continue to provide safe, quality care, services and support to the residents of our community.

As a result of potential exposure, we are initiating facility wide precautions for all residents of Aitkin Health Services to reduce any potential exposure within the building. Unfortunately, this means we will need to stop all indoor visits and patio visits at this time.

Don’t forget to get your flu shot this season to help protect our community. Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

1st Entire-Site Testing Results

Dear Family and Friends,

We conducted our first round of entire-site testing (outbreak testing) on 10/13/20. We have received all Negative results from Tuesday testing on staff and residents. We will be testing again on 10/20/20.

We are very excited to share the news that we will soon be able to resume indoor visits, and warmly welcome you back into our care center. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued guidance on how we can safely re-open to visitors while continuing to protect the health of our residents and staff. This guidance takes effect on October 17th.  In the meantime, we remind you to take advantage of outdoor visits, window visits, and virtual visits.

Even though we are excited to open up our care center for indoor visits, it is tempered by the fact that rural communities are seeing more outbreak in recent weeks which has the potential to impact our care center’s ability to offer visitation. There can be no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and facility cannot currently be conducting outbreak testing.  COVID-19 county positivity rates will determine how our care center will facilitate indoor visits.

For your planning purposes, please know we expect to accommodate indoor visitation very soon, following these strict guidelines:

  • All indoor visits MUST be scheduled in advance.
  • Visitors must be screened prior to entering the care center for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • All visits must be conducted using social distancing.
  • Visitors must wear a mask covering both nose and mouth while in the care center. Residents must wear a surgical mask during the visit.
  • Proper hand hygiene must occur (use of alcohol-based hand rub) throughout visit.
  • Visits may be restricted to a designated area within the building.
  • Physical contact (hugs, kisses, handshakes, etc.) continues to be restricted to protect everyone from potential virus transmission.
  • Visitors will be limited to two visitors per resident; the total number of visitors in the building will be limited; and the duration of visits will be limited.
  • Visitors must adhere to all infection control policies (ICP) and staff should provide monitoring for those who may have difficulty adhering to ICP
  • Cleaning/disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces and designated visitation areas must occur after each visit.
  • All items brought to the visit must be left with staff for disinfection and not passed to the resident during the visit.

Our ability to resume visitation would not have been possible without the incredible commitment and dedication of our staff, who have worked tirelessly to manage the risks of COVID-19 and providing compassionate care and support to our residents at a time when they are physically separated by their loved ones. We know that you too, have made sacrifices during this incredibly difficult time and we thank you for your patience and understanding.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Positive Staff Member at Aitkin Health Services

Dear Family and Friends,

Although not unexpected, as of 10/08/2020, we have a staff member in our care center who has tested positive for COVID-19. This event triggers a planned process of isolation to aggressively minimize transmission to others. This means that we must cancel all outdoor and open window visits until further notice. We will continue to offer closed window and virtual visits. Our top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are collaborating with our Medical Director and the Minnesota Department of Health and are following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure we are taking all appropriate steps at this time.

With the confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in our care center, we will move forward with entire site testing for both residents and staff. Our first round of entire site testing or point prevalence testing (PPT) will take place on 10/13/20. We understand that this decision may result in increased confirmed cases, but the results will allow us to accurately isolate the virus and prevent the spread in our community. We believe this is the best way to protect residents, staff and our community and track the path of the virus.

In the event we have any residents test positive, we would activate our COVID unit. The unit is segregated from the rest of our community. The designated staff that care for residents in this unit remain within the area and do not have physical contact with other non-segregated residents. Any staff who test positive will be self-quarantined at home and will not be allowed to return to work until they recover from the virus; 10 days following positive test and 72 hours from last fever without using medication. Our staff are equipped with specific training and PPE to continue to provide safe, quality care, services and support to the residents of our community.

As we’ve shared several times, in early March, we initiated proactive infection control practices, screening procedures and visitor restrictions that will help us manage this situation as effectively as possible and protect the safety and health of all who live and work here. We will continue to update you on any news, emerging issues, or additional changes in our operations via Bright Arrow, email, website, and our Facebook page.

Thank you again for being partners with us in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Your messages of support, prayers, and caring is important to those working to keep our residents healthy and safe. Without a doubt, there will be more challenges ahead, and we continue to ask for your patience as we navigate through the COVID Pandemic. Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at ameyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Weekly Update

As of 10/2/20 we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. Our staff were tested on 9/29/20 and are being routinely tested Weekly according to CMS guidelines. Our next round of testing will take place on 10/6/20.

Please know we continue to offer outdoor visitation, window visits and virtual visits in an on-going effort to decrease the impact the virus may have on residents. Please contact Mary Olander, Activity Coordinator, at molander@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5510 to schedule your visit in advance.

The coming cooler months will continue to challenge us in limiting the impact of COVID-19 on our community. It is important for each of us to think about how our actions affect others we come in contact with. We must protect one another. You are a key partner in the safe reopening of our care center, please remember to social distance, wear a mask, and practice proper hand hygiene. Remember to stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you or someone you know may be interested in working side by side with us as we truly make a difference in the lives of our residents, please contact our care center or visit www.jobswithus.org for more information.

We truly appreciate your patience as we prepare to expand visits and other activities. We all look forward to the days ahead when we’re able to enjoy the simple pleasures of hugs, handshakes, and warm in-person greetings again.

Thank you again for being partners with us in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at ameyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514

Weekly Update

September 24, 2020

As of today, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. 

We continue to routinely test facility staff according to CMS guidelines.  “Facility Staff” is broadly defined to include employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and caregivers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility, and students in the facility’s nurse aide training programs or from affiliated academic institutions.  Our care center is currently in a medium county positivity rate. The requirements outline routine testing depending on our county positivity rate:

  • Low: Monthly testing in counties with less than 5% positivity
  • Medium: Weekly testing in counties with 5-10% positivity
  • High: Bi-weekly testing in counties with greater than 10% positivity

We continue to follow the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and take all appropriate measures possible to protect the health and wellness of all who live and work here. We test symptomatic residents and staff as symptoms arise and perform entire-site testing during an outbreak (1 or more positive cases of either a resident or staff in our care center). Should a confirmed case come from any of these tests, we would promptly notify our residents, their families and staff.

On September 17, 2020, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released Memorandum QSO-20-39-NH Nursing Home Visitation – COVID 19 which provides updated visitation guidelines for skilled nursing facilities; https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh.pdf. We are currently waiting for the MN Department of Health direction on this Memo before we begin working on a policy & implementation plan.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at ameyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514

Weekly Update

This week we completed our first round of routine staff testing. As of 9/18/2020, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. We are required to review the county positivity every two weeks. This coming week, we will review the rate and adjust the routine staff testing frequency accordingly. Any changes to this testing frequency will be communicated through our weekly updates and our Facebook page.

We continue to follow the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and take all appropriate measures possible to protect the health and wellness of all who live and work here. We test symptomatic residents and staff as symptoms arise and perform entire-site testing during an outbreak (positive case in our care center). Should a confirmed case come from any of these tests, we would promptly notify our residents, staff and their families.

The COVID Pandemic has created new employment opportunities in our care center for people wanting to help our most at-risk population combat this virus. If you or someone you know may be interested in working side by side with us as we truly make a difference in the lives of our residents, please contact our care center or visit www.jobswithus.org for more information.

Residents continue to enjoy one on one activities with staff as well as small group activities while socially distancing and wearing surgical face masks. Visiting with your loved one can be done virtually, open or closed window, and outdoor patio visits. We ask that you schedule your visits ahead of time due to high demand, staffing and the safety of our residents.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at ameyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514.