Cedars of Austin Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information, Prevention Updates & FAQ

Updated: July 10, 2020

We understand you may be concerned about the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, especially with the amount of media coverage, and the fact that there are now multiple confirmed cases in senior living communities across the state. We want you to know we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our residents, visitors and staff. 

Detailed confirmed case information can be found below and will be updated at least weekly. 

We are conducting Point Prevalence Survey testing in accordance with the MDH guidelines.  The most recent test results can be found below and will be updated at least weekly. 

Case Information

Confirmed Positive Cases in Our Community 

Unfortunately, we have confirmed Coronavirus/COVID-19 cases in our community.  We continue to follow Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines in responding to each confirmed case to ensure all precautions are taken to best protect the health and safety of our residents and staff. 

As a family owned and operated company, we are responding to this as if it is a family member that has been diagnosed, and are dedicated to doing everything in our power to protect, care for and support those who have been diagnosed and their families, as well as all other members of the Cedars of Austin family – our residents and staff. 

Upon learning of the first confirmed case, our response plan was immediately implemented. Our previously identified response team initiated discussions within minutes of receiving the confirmation.  We are immensely grateful for the messages of support we have received from family and residents. 

Our top priority now is to mitigate the spread within our community and keep everyone safe and healthy. We are working in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking all appropriate steps at this time.

The actions we have previously taken, such as strictly limiting visitors, suspending congregate activities and dining, screening everyone entering the building, and daily symptom screening for all residents receiving healthcare services will continue to remain in place. We will be implementing additional measures based upon this new development as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The senior care industry is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and the Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm recently released this statement about senior care communities with a confirmed case of COVID-19: “Being on the list does not mean that the facility is deficient in any way or has done something wrong any more than we would say that there was something done wrong by a family with a household member that has a case. These are our most vulnerable residents...without the care and support of the staff who are working with them, we are going to have an additional crisis on our hands. It’s incumbent on all of us to understand that these facilities are working very hard to protect their residents and their staff, and we continue to work very closely with them to do everything possible to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus. However, with community transmission as it is, we should expect that many facilities will have cases, just as many work settings and families and households around the state have had and will have cases. We know that the risk of COVID-19 is general and widespread across all of our communities and why it is so very important that we practice social distancing and take those other protective measures in all areas of society. We need to be doing everything we can to protect the residents and employees at these facilities in particular." 

Our dedicated caregivers and staff are working tirelessly to prevent serious illnesses while also providing compassionate support and continuing to meet the emotional and health needs of all our residents. We are taking all recommended and necessary measures and doing everything possible to protect the health and wellness of all who live and work here.

While this is a difficult time for our staff, residents and their families, we are honored to stand alongside them as we continue to fight this pandemic, and thank them for their understanding, cooperation, and dedication to standing with us.

For media or press inquiries please contact Ashley Fjelstad at 612-670-2448


Detailed Case Information:

      • Total Cases: 12
        • Staff : 7 
        • Resident: 5
          • Memory Care 1
          • Assisted Living 4
      • Of these 12 total cases there have been: 
        • Deaths: 0

 

Point Prevalence Survey Testing Results (includes positives listed in total cases): 

Residents offered testing: 129

              • Negative: 124
              • Positive: 0 
              • Pending: 3
              • Refused: 2

 

Staff offered testing: 79 

                  • Negative: 68
                  • Pending: 5
                  • Positive: 1
                  • Refused (taken off schedule): 5

Visitor Information

Outdoor Visit Information: 

We are so happy to announce we are conducting outside visits in accordance with guidance from the MDH.  To request an outside visit and to learn more email Jill at jbartz@cedarsofaustin.com or call her at 507-437-3246

Update on Lifting of the Stay at Home Order & June 1st Limited Business Reopening's: 

On May 13, 2020 Governor Walz announced that the Stay at Home Order will expire on May 18, 2020, and be replaced with a Stay Safe MN Order.  Also, on June 1st, many restaurants are opening with strict capacity limitations and outside seating requirements.  Retail businesses have also begun to reopen, again, with very strict capacity and safety measures in place.  However, it is crucial to note that, as part of this announcement and gradual reopening, Governor Walz did not change any restrictions for at risk populations — those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions — which includes all residents at the Cedars.

The expiration of the Stay at Home Order and gradual business and restaurant reopening's does not change any of the restrictions or policies currently in place at the Cedars regarding social distancing, congregate dining, activities, mask use, or visitor restrictions.  Based upon Governor Walz’s announcements, along with all guidance and information coming from the Minnesota Department of Health, it is unlikely they will be recommending that these restrictions or policies be changed or lifted any time soon. 

We know this is hard to hear, but it is very important for us to clearly communicate that the easing of government restrictions does not apply to us at the Cedars at this time. With the lifting of restrictions, it is very possible  that COVID-19 cases will increase across the state, which makes it even more necessary for us to be diligent in following the restrictions and policies currently in place.  

Just like all members of the Cedars of Austin family - staff, residents, and their loved ones - we look forward to reopening our community, but doing so too soon carries a great risk of catastrophic results, which is why neither the State of Minnesota nor the Cedars is lifting any restrictions in regard to senior housing at this time. 

FAQ

Q. If I am an approved visitor, is there anything else I need to know? 

A: Yes. While you may be an approved visitor, you will be screened each time you visit prior to entry. 

Even approved visitors are not permitted to visit if they are currently feeling unwell or are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, runny nose or sore throat. Further, those who have travelled internationally or domestically via air travel or have been on a cruise ship or live with someone who has in the last 14 days are not permitted to visit. Finally, if you believe you have been exposed to Coronavirus/COVID-19, or have been in an area where there is an outbreak, you will not be permitted to visit. 

Please remember that even approved visitors may only visit during 9:00AM – 5:00PM weekdays or 10:00AM – 3:00PM weekends.

You must enter through the First Drive entrance, the rear Millpond entrance is closed. 

We strongly recommend that you call ahead of each planned visit to ensure visiting restrictions have not changed.


Q. How should I continue to communicate with my family member/loved one? 

A. We strongly encourage you to stay in touch with your family member/loved one by phone, text, email or other means that do not require physical proximity. 

Staff are available to assist residents with phone or video calling Monday-Friday 9:00AM – 5:00PM. To schedule staff assistance please contact the Executive Director.


Q. How long will these restrictions be in place? 

A. Until we receive guidance from industry leaders and governmental agencies that the restrictions are no longer necessary to ensure resident and staff safety.

Government leaders discussed plans to "re-open" the state and country the week of April 13-17.  Restrictions on senior housing providers were in the last phase/step to be lifted. Therefore it is safe to assume that the guidelines and policies we have put in place will remain so for the foreseeable future. 

We will be communicating any changes in this to our residents and their family members as we move forward. 


Q. My family member/loved one is seen by an outside health care provider on site, will they still be able to be seen? 

A: Yes. If your loved one/family member receives medical care from an outside provider, that provider will be permitted to enter our campus as necessary to provide essential care, but will be subject to screening.


Q. How are you communicating updates?  

A. In addition to posting information on this page, we are sending out letters at least weekly to residents, staff and family members. This weekly letter is sent out via email to family. If you wish to be added to this list please contact Carol Weber at cweber@cedarsofaustin.com 


Q. What can I do to help? 

A. Follow and encourage our residents to follow the visiting restrictions we have put in place. 

Stay healthy and prevent spreading germs by following recommended actions: frequent hand washing; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose all used tissues; avoid contact with people who are ill.

Encourage your loved one to follow the polices and guidelines we have put in place at the Cedars of Austin. Also, please DO NOT encourage them to leave the Cedars campus to visit friends or family for non-essential reasons. It puts everyone at risk. 

Please be patient and understanding with our staff during this time. This situation is difficult for them as well and they are working as hard as they can to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents they care so deeply about.

Resources

We are always here to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and encourage you to contact us. Our Executive Director at 507-355-7103 or mbarajas@cedarsofaustin.com during regular business hours. We know that there will still be questions for which we do not have answers, but we are committed to ensuring we respond to all inquires in a timely manner.

There are many resources available: 
U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Minnesota Department of Health

Testimonials

I thought caring for my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, at home was the most cost effective. When I saw the toll it was taking on all of us, including Dad, The Cedars is a real bargain.

-Family Member of Resident

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