Samaritan Keep Home resumes visitation, COVID-19 outbreak now controlled

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Samaritan Keep Home, Watertown, NY (WWTI/ Isabella Colello)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Family visitation will resume at the Samaritan Keep Home just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Samaritan Health confirmed on Sunday evening that the Samaritan Keep Home will reopen family visitation on November 22. This was after a month-long pause on visitation due to a COVID-19 outbreak that was first confirmed on October 18.

During the outbreak period, 101 residents tested positive for the virus and 12 residents died. The first two deaths were reported in the facility on October 28. All COVID-positive residents were isolated to a designated ward and staff were cohorted during the outbreak period.

However, now that the outbreak is under control, families can visit residents under certain COVID-19 guidelines.

When indoors, visitors are asked to go directly to the visitor’s room or designated area. If a resident’s roommate is unvaccinated or immunocompromised, visits cannot be conducted in the resident’s room if possible. Visitors are required to wear masks when around other residents or healthcare personnel.

Residents on transmission-based precautions are still permitted to have visitors, although it is not recommended. Prior to visiting with a resident on TBP, visitors must understand the risks and that they may be reported to local or state health departments as an exposure.

When entering the Keep Home, visitors will be screened at the visitor screening station either verbally or via kiosk. Visitors will be screened for signs or symptoms of COVID-19, potential exposures to the virus and will have their temperature taken.

They will also be required to wash hands frequently during the visit, wear masks properly, remain in designated areas and social distance. No physical contact is allowed between residents and visitors unless the resident is vaccinated.

Additionally, as Jefferson County remains designated as an area with high levels of COVID-19 community transmission, visitors are encouraged to be tested two to three days prior to visiting the Keep Home. Regardless of transmission levels, all visitors are strongly encouraged to be COVID-19 vaccinated.

Samaritan Keep Hom will also be cleaning and disinfecting high-frequency touched surfaces in the facility, continue to use instructional signage throughout the facility and continue to undergo COVID-19 testing as required by the New York State Department of Health.

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