By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Staff
A total of five residents of Tsali Care Center have tested positive for COVID-19 marking the first positive results to come out of the facility since the pandemic began last year. Tribal officials, in making the announcement on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 9, related that the residents who tested positive “are currently isolated” and “are being monitored”.
The EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Public Health and Human Services division said in a release on Monday afternoon, “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) and Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (CIHA) are working diligently to mitigate any spread and close contacts, and families have been notified. Tsali Care has restricted all visitation throughout the facility, enacted full protective measures for staff and residents, notified residents, families and staff and will continue to conduct weekly COVID testing for all staff and residents.”
Dr. Winchester, CIHA director of geriatric services told the One Feather on Monday afternoon, ““We have been doing surveillance testing throughout the pandemic. Now that we have employee and staff positives, we have increased the frequency of testing, designated COVID isolation areas within the facility, and have increased monitoring of all residents. The Administrative staff has been working constantly to ensure adequate staffing, cleaning, and well-being of the residents.”
Dr. Winchester added, “Since 92 percent of our residents are vaccinated, we hope any resident who is positive for COVID will experience mild symptoms or none at all – this is what is occurring so far. Please send positive thoughts and prayers for our staff who continue to work very hard to ensure the safety of our residents and if you are eligible, get vaccinated.”
PHHS officials implored community members to take measures for safety. “Every consideration to the health, safety, and well-being of our community, employees, and their families is being addressed. We advised everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus. Some things you can do to protect yourself and others are:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Wear a cloth face mask or homemade face covering in public.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.”