The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

COVID-19 detected at Heartland CCC


May 20, 2020

PORTALES — When the Heartland Continuing Care Center resident first learned on Friday that she’d tested positive for COVID-19, she was none too happy about it.

“She gave us an earful,” Heartland CEO Ranelle Tweedy said of the 96-year-old woman’s reaction to the news.

“She said nobody was going to tell her she had this silly virus.”

Tweedy said the resident, whom she would not identify because of privacy laws, had not felt sick before or after she was most recently tested on May 12.

The positive result — the first involving a local senior center resident since the pandemic began — came from a routine molecular swab test that all of the Center’s 52 residents have received, Tweedy said.

The woman was tested again on Saturday with a rapid diagnostic test and that test was negative for COVID-19.

Tweedy said she is waiting on the Department of Health to recommend the best time for the resident to take the molecular swab test again, which the Food and Drug Administration has suggested should be used to validate the rapid test.

“She is doing great, doesn’t have any issues,” Tweedy said. “She’s pretty disgusted that she’s tested positive since she’s had absolutely no symptoms.”

Tweedy said all of the Center’s residents and its 39 staff have been tested for the coronavirus since May 12 and all but the one has been negative as of Tuesday morning.

She said the Center’s routine the past few months has been to test 15 percent per week. Staff is also regularly tested, plus employees are screened prior to each shift.

In addition, she said residents are assessed twice daily with nurses checking vital signs, taking temperatures and conducting lung assessments. A doctor is notified if any resident exhibits signs of illness.

While residents are mostly isolated and not allowed visitors, Tweedy said they are responding to the pandemic like champs.

“I know it’s lonely for them, but they are doing well,” she said.

“They can call their families and they’re doing a lot of things they weren’t doing before, like Facetime. And family can come outside their window and talk to them on the phone so they can see them.”

Can the community do anything to help?

“The community has been really fantastic,” she said. “We have people making masks (for residents); if anyone can continue to do that it would be fantastic.

“If anyone wants to send them cards or letters, they get mail every day and they really look forward to that. If Sunday school groups, church groups could send encouraging words that would be nice.”

Tweedy said the Center has three iPads that rotate among residents. “If anyone would like to donate iPads or tablets or just any (electronic devices) for them to play games on, that would be incredible.”


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