Christian Care Retirement Community’s executive director is pleading for helpers after a COVID-19 “outbreak” in the facility.

In a five-minute video shared Thursday morning, Preston Kaehr of CCRC provided an update on how the pandemic has affected residents and staff at the long-term care facility located at 720 E. Dustman Road in Bluffton.

As of this week, there have been a total of 11 confirmed cases among residents.

“We have not had any new cases develop here in the last few days,” Kaehr added.

Those who have tested positive have been isolated in a separate wing for care from a separate staff in order to avoid cross-contamination, and residents who have not tested positive or aren’t showing symptoms are all being monitored as well. Residents have been tested frequently, he said.

They are also continuing with increased cleaning and hand hygiene, as well as wearing personal protective equipment.

Staff is being tested every couple of days using rapid testing, leading to results in about 15 minutes. If needed, staff is being sent home.

“That has caused a lot of issues, as you can imagine,” Kaehr said. “Our facility was already working with some very short-staffed shifts and different things that we were working through already before we had this outbreak.”

It’s caused extra stress in the facility, and he would like the public to start thinking of ways they can help Christian Care right now.

Volunteers are sought to help screen staff and others coming in, although the building is locked down and there are no visitors allowed. Volunteers will check temperatures and ask questions of employees before signing off that they have been properly checked for entry.

The Indiana National Guard has members deployed to the facility to help and they are there from 8 a.m. until late afternoon.

“That has been really a blessing from Gov. Holcomb,” Kaehr said, “and from their staff and coordinating that. We are thankful for that.”

Those who are interested in volunteering should contact Christian Care at 260-565-3000.

They are also seeking help from medical professionals who can assist with direct care, including certified nursing assistants, registered nurses and those in between.

“We would welcome your help in being able to come and help us take care of some of these COVID residents, or even just our non-positive residents for that matter,” Kaehr said.

He called on friends, stakeholders and the Apostolic Christian Church to consider helping.

“We are in great need,” Kaehr said.

He thanked his staff, whom have put in a lot of hours — including those who “selflessly” volunteered to work in the COVID-19 wing — and have sacrificed in their personal lives to keep their residents safe.

“They continue to shine brightly in helping the residents in making sure they are getting the care they need,” he said.

He also requested prayers.

“Please continue to pray for Christian Care,” Kaehr said near the end of the video. Continue to pray for our staff and let’s continue to work together to make sure that residents are safely taken care of here at Christian Care.”

Positive tests and diagnoses of COVID-19 are on the rise across the state, inside and outside of long term care facilities. In Wells County, there has been a total of 608 cases of the virus this year, which is a significant increase from the 473 cases that were reported a week ago. Of those, 15 people in Wells County have died, according to the Indiana State Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.

The overall seven-day positivity rate for Wells County is 8.3 percent, while the seven-day positivity rate for unique individuals is 20 percent.

Across the state, there have been a total of 196,176 positive cases of COVID-19 and 4,269 deaths resulting from the virus, according to ISDH. Of those, 4,462 cases and 45 deaths have been reported since Oct. 23. The state has a 7.9 percent seven-day positivity rate and a 16.1 percent seven-day positivity rate for unique individuals.
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