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Residents of St. John’s Living Center, a Jackson long-term care facility, were all tested for COVID-19 after an employee tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend.

St. John’s Health Chief Communications Officer Karen Connelly confirmed the employee’s positive test Tuesday and said none of the residents have tested positive for the disease.

All employees are being tested, too, Connelly said, though that is an ongoing process. Families of residents have also been notified of the positive test. Connelly did not know the exact number of residents at the Living Center but estimated there to be around 40.

The employee who tested positive is self-isolating at home, Connelly said, and the Teton County Health Department has been notified and is undertaking the process of contact tracing.

The Living Center medical director, in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Health, evaluated the risk of transmission at the center, and the infected employee was “determined to be a low-risk contact based on the masking requirement for staff and other precautions,” Connelly said by email. The employee’s position at the facility was not disclosed.

Connelly said no residents at the Living Center have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began earlier this year. She added that the Living Center “will continue to adhere to the safety precautions plan that has been in place for many weeks.” Precautions include: restrictions on visitation, universal staff mask-wearing requirement, stringent environmental cleaning, continual monitoring for signs and symptoms, and the elimination of communal dining at the center, as well as other group events. Living Center staff also participate in an ongoing surveillance testing program, as required by the Department of Health, Connelly said.

St. John’s Health’s CEO, Dr. Paul Beaupre, stressed at Friday’s COVID-19 update that it’s imperative that young people take precautions not to transmit the virus to the elderly population.

“Now, the one thing we’re doing extremely well here and we need to continue to do is to protect our elderly,” he said. “If it just gets into our elderly, the hospital will be threatened right away. Right now we’re doing a great job of protecting our elderly. And I would just advocate again, please for you, for those of you that are 35 and below and are tempted to try to make life look like it’s [back to normal], it’s not as yet. Make sure you know the people you’re hanging with. Make sure that you are distancing when you’re at parties, and do not go to bars. If there are people in the bar, that isn’t safe.”

Contact Timothy J. Woods at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

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