Two Samaritan Keep Home employees test positive for COVID-19


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Samaritan Health began testing staff and residents for COVID-19 at Samaritan Keep Home long-term care facility on May 11, in compliance with a new state directive issued by Governor Cuomo and as part of ongoing safety efforts.

On May 13, Samaritan Health received notice two staff members of Samaritan Keep Home tested positive. According to a release from Samaritan, the staff members were asymptomatic, exhibited no outward signs, and were unaware they had the virus.

Samaritan has tested 363 Samaritan Keep Home staff members, of which 263 are negative, two are positive and 98 are waiting for results.

The employees who have tested positive will quarantine at home for the recommended 14 days. According to Samaritan, the employees were not exposed to the disease to their knowledge, did not travel, had no symptoms and wore their masks while working. Any residents or staff members those employees came in contact with will be notified and screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Up until this point, no residents or staff of Samaritan’s long-term care facilities had tested positive. Samaritan stated they are taking the new development very seriously and following all New York State Department of Health directives regarding testing and contact tracing to minimize exposure.

Since March, numerous precautionary measures have been implemented at Samaritan’s two long-term care facilities, Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village, to ensure residents and staff remain safe from the coronavirus.

The efforts include:

  • temperature checks upon every entry
  • asking a series of screening questions
  • requiring face masks for all staff and vendors
  • practicing enhanced sanitization
  • masking residents if they leave the facility
  • conducting resident temperature checks every eight hours
  • other precautionary measures

Samaritan stated in the release that they have taken great care to abide by the state’s stringent guidelines regarding COVID-19, many of which they put in place before they became mandatory.

The unpredictable nature of this virus and the potential for those infected not to show symptoms can cause some cases to go undetected.

Samaritan stated that the health and safety of residents and staff remains their top priority. All staff will be tested once or twice per week, depending on their scheduled number of shifts each week, in an effort to check for additional asymptomatic cases.

Any employee showing symptoms will be tested immediately and will not be able to work, as has been Samaritan’s policy since March.

At this point, all Samaritan Keep Home residents have been tested and are awaiting additional results. Samaritan stated they are confident the additional precautions staff have been taking, including wearing masks and regular, deep sanitization of the facility, have greatly helped limit exposure. All Samaritan Summit Village staff members and residents will also be tested starting next week.

Samaritan stated they are fully prepared to care for any resident who may have COVID-19. They have a plan in place to separate residents and have fully trained staff to care for them, should it become necessary in the future.


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