Senior center in Eagle reports three residents, four staffers test positive for COVID-19

Castle Peak Senior Life has organized COVID wing with assistance from Vail Health

For the second consecutive week, Castle Peak Senior Life and Rehabilitation has reported that COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents has revealed no additional cases.
Daily file photo

EAGLE  — After the death and subsequent positive COVID-19 diagnosis of a resident last week, Castle Peak Senior Life has confirmed three more residents and four staff members at the Eagle facility have tested positive for the virus.

According to Shelly Cornish, an administrator at the facility, all residents and staff members were tested for COVID-19 following the May 5 passing of a resident in the care center’s memory wing, who was treated for pneumonia.

“All of the new cases were asymptomatic,” said Cornish. “Residents who have tested positive have been moved to one location in the building. We have actually created what we call a COVID wing.”

Cornish said Vail Health officials offered to collaborate with Castle Peak for its COVID-19 response and personnel from the Vail hospital are providing 24/7 care in the special wing. Castle Peak will retest its residents and staff on May 14 and again on May 21 to determine if there has been additional virus transmission.

“We just want to make sure it isn’t spreading. We want to make sure that we have a handle on it,” Cornish said.

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She said Castle Peak staff members are working hard to keep residents and families apprised of the evolving situation.

“We talked to the residents after we learned about the positive result and we hosted a ZOOM family meeting Monday night to answer questions,” she said. “We are trying to be as transparent as possible.”

Finding its way in

The scenario at Castle Peak demonstrates the pervasive nature of COVID-19. Beginning back in mid-March the facility instituted a number of safety precautions including restricting resident visitors, ceasing dining room gatherings and group activities and routine resident screenings. Cornish said Castle Peak also increased its emphasis on disinfection, infection control and prevention following CDC and local health department guidelines.

Because of all the restrictions placed on residents, family members have voiced their belief that an employee likely carried this virus into the facility. Cornish noted that back in March Castle Peak instituted employee screening at the start of each shift. The screening requires each employee to respond to a health questionnaire and have his or her temperature checked when entering the facility.

Cornish also noted that in April, Castle Peak completed a federal infection control survey and no operational deficiencies were noted. She said Vail Health reviewed the facility’s COVID-19 protocols and supported Castle Peak’s efforts.

In response to the COVID-19 case at the facility, staff now wear face shields and goggles in addition to masks and they conduct coronavirus assessments for all residents at the start of each shift

“Our staff is really working hard in really difficult conditions,” Cornish said. “I feel like we are taking every precaution we know how to do.”

Some of those precautions are difficult for residents, she acknowledged. Restricting residents to their rooms, for example, has been hard on everyone at the facility.

“We are hoping that this will end soon and we can go back to our new COVID normal life. But even that is definitely not normal life,” Cornish said.

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