Forty of the 72 residents at Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s Brendan House, a 110-bed nursing facility, have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday morning.
Four residents are hospitalized, and the remaining positive residents are isolated at Brendan House and are “being closely monitored and receiving appropriate care,” according to KRH Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Mellody Sharpton.
The nursing home outbreak comes as Flathead County is experiencing wide community spread of the novel coronavirus, including a single-day record of 220 new cases reported countywide on Nov. 6.
Sharpton said regular surveillance testing of Brendan House residents revealed last week that four were positive for COVID-19. The residents were isolated, and those who may have had contact with any of the positive residents were tested and closely monitored.
Hospital officials then learned on the evening of Nov. 6 that additional residents tested positive for COVID-19, and the number increased after additional testing over the weekend.
As of Monday morning, 40 residents of the skilled-nursing had received positive results, while additional rounds of testing would take place this week, Sharpton said. Brendan House staff members “have been committed to staying in close communication with residents’ families, and have kept them updated on the situation since last week.”
The cases mark the first positive detections at Brendan House since the pandemic began. Staff members have also tested positive in the recent outbreak, although Sharpton didn’t have the exact numbers on Monday afternoon.
“While our team has worked diligently to protect our most vulnerable, with no COVID positive Brendan House residents since we closed our doors to outside visitors in March, we unfortunately could not escape the surge of COVID-19 in the Flathead that continues to impact our community,” Sharpton said in a statement.
KRH recently added new advanced testing capabilities in its in-house molecular lab and has been conducting regular surveillance testing of Brendan House staff and residents for the past 10 weeks.
Sharpton said certified nurse assistants deployed to KRH by the Montana National Guard would be available to assist at Brendan House.
KRH’s statement noted a long list of precautions and preventative practices that have been in place at the Brendan House, which provides skilled nursing and rehabilitative services. Precautions include telehealth visits, strict visitor restrictions, employee and essential visitor screening, social distancing with the cancellation of gatherings, frequent cleaning and disinfection, education and guidance, and more.