3 positive for COVID-19 at Retirement Ranch


May 20, 2020

CLOVIS — Following positive tests for two of its employees over the weekend, Retirement Ranch has tested all of its residents and staff and early returns showed one positive resident test.

Trisha Gross, social services director at the facility, said Tuesday afternoon that full results are still pending, but the facility received the positive resident test Monday night. The resident is asymptomatic, and has been put into isolation.

The facility tested 234 people through Sunday, which included all residents and 95% of its employees. The remaining employees had been tested as of Tuesday, officials said.

A new round of testing could be as early as this morning and hopefully within the week, Gross said, but the facility was still waiting on directives from the New Mexico Department of Health.

The two employees who tested positive were asymptomatic, and were tested May 11 as part of a state request to test all residents and randomly test staff.

A total of 53 staffers and 41 residents had been tested through the testing periods of April 27 and May 11. The facility reported the two positive tests Saturday, five days after the second random testing.

Gross said Monday she didn’t know who the employees were, and had no way to know how many shifts those employees had worked before they were sent into quarantine.

“Because it was random testing, we didn’t anticipate anybody would come back positive, so they were allowed to come into work,” Gross said. “We do screen everybody who comes into our building every single day for signs of the virus.”

Screening includes temperature tests and a series of questions. Additional screening is required for any employee who travels out of town on their free time, and employees are asked to clear such travel through supervisors in advance.

Employees who test positive cannot return to work until 14 days following the positive test along with at least two negative tests.

The Sunday tests were taken by the New Mexico National Guard to Tri-Core Labs in Albuquerque, County Manager Lance Pyle said.

This weekend was the first time since the pandemic began that area New Mexico senior centers had reported positive tests.

The facility has roughly 140 staffers, but Gross said she couldn’t calculate how many employees are needed to operate the facility because “every department is different.”

Residents have received cloth masks to use while outside of their room or in the presence of caregivers. Staff has gowns, face shields and gloves.

“We do try to maintain the six feet, which is difficult with care,” Gross said. “We are encouraging extra hand washing and we have extra hand sanitizing stations all over the building.”

The facility is currently operating under its policies for infection control, but many of those items had already been handed down by the state.


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