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Good Samaritan Society in Pine River reports COVID-19 cases

Good Sam in Pine River and Edgewood in Baxter are included on the state's list reporting an exposure from a case of COVID-19 in a resident, staff person or visiting provider. Lakewood Health System Care Center in Staples identified a positive case in a staff member.

Good Samaritan Society in Pine River and Edgewood in Baxter, both congregate living facilities, are now included on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of facilities with COVID-19 exposures. And Lakewood Health System Care Center in Staples identified a positive case of COVID-19 in one of its staff members.

At the Pine River Good Samaritan Society, three residents tested positive along with five staff members, a spokesperson with Sanford Health, which owns Good Samaritan Society, reported Friday, Aug. 28. The first positive test was recorded Aug. 20.

“Good Samaritan Society-Pine River continues to take extra precautions and is using vigorous infection control measures while also working closely with the Department of Health,” Jennifer Grams, the facility’s administrator, said in an emailed statement. “The health, safety and well-being of our residents, staff and the community we serve remains our top priority.”

Congregate care facilities included on the list, which is updated weekly, reported an exposure from a case of COVID-19 in a resident, staff person or visiting provider. Facilities may not have ongoing transmission and those with fewer than 10 residents are not listed. Facilities that have not reported a new exposure for a minimum of 28 days are removed from the list. If a facility identifies a new exposure, it will once again be listed.

Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in south Brainerd was recently relisted after spending most of June and all of July with no additional resident cases. As of Tuesday, Aug. 25, 10 more residents and one more employee tested positive. Combined, 73 separate cases of the virus have occurred in the facility - 42 residents and 31 employees.


The case at the Staples nursing home was reported in a Monday, Aug. 31, news release.

“We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of this virus within our setting,” Kathy Dobson, vice president of senior services, said in the news release. “Aggressive proactive infection control measures and screening procedures were initiated, which we believe will help us manage this case as effectively as possible. We have enacted our emergency response plan with heightened infection control protocols, and we are working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking appropriate steps. Our staff and residents are following recommended preventative actions, we continue to screen staff residents and visitors, and all residents and their primary contacts have been notified.

“As we navigate this challenge, we are especially grateful for our dedicated caregiving team who are working tirelessly to ensure a clean, safe environment for all who live and work here. We all remain focused on providing exceptional care and services for our residents/tenants,” Dobson said.

The care center will complete testing of all residents and staff who work in the care center, the release said. They are continuing to restrict visitors to the facility (with the exception of compassionate care visits) until able to confirm there are no longer positive cases

Last week, for the first time since case numbers have been collected, a significant majority of Crow Wing County positives were among those under age 50. Of 297 cases recorded last week in the county, 155 were under 50, with those ages 19-29 accounting for 22.2% of all cases.

Cass County reached a milestone last week, reporting 100 total cases.

CWC cases top 300; more businesses impacted

Cases in Crow Wing County exceeded the 300-mark over the weekend, with a total of 309 cases reported as of Monday, Aug. 31. The per capita case rate of 47.5 cases per 10,000 residents in the county continues to be highest of area counties aside from Todd County, which saw an early surge in cases this spring associated with workers in meatpacking facilities.

Area businesses continue to experience impacts from COVID-19. The Commander Restaurant & Bar and JJ’s Pub in Breezy Point announced Sunday, Aug. 30, it would be closed for the upcoming week due to an employee testing positive.


“ … Out of an abundance of caution we will be closed for several days this week until all of our employees can be tested and cleared for safely returning to work,” a Facebook post stated. “And even though our facilities are already cleaned and sanitized daily, we will be doubling our efforts while we are closed to insure that everyone is as safe as possible when we re-open.”

Down County Highway 11, Billy’s at Breezy Point announced it would cancel its planned outdoor concert featuring Doug Allen Nash and Chris Olson, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley impersonators. The event, an advertisement for which encouraged people to “join Billy as he saves the summer,” was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4-5. A Facebook post pointed to a recent announcement from the Minnesota Department of Health reporting plans to more strictly enforce mandates associated with the coronavirus.

“The Health Department sent a letter to all bars stating that they will be becoming more strict on all the current mandates that are already in place,” the post stated. “We feel that the Health Department is making it very difficult for us to stay within their guidelines. … This was not an easy decision. We hope you understand.”

Those who purchased tickets for the concert may receive a full refund and should speak with the person from whom they purchased the ticket or tickets.

The Fort Steakhouse in Fort Ripley also closed for a short stretch last week after learning of an employee’s exposure outside of the workplace. The restaurant announced the closure Wednesday, Aug. 26, and reported Saturday, Aug. 29, that the employee tested negative. The business reopened Sunday morning, Aug. 30.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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