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COVID-19: Bethesda Policy, Testing and Visitor Updates (12/30/20)


Dear Families –

Please find our latest Vaccine, Visitation Policy, and Testing Policy Updates below.

Vaccine Update: 12/30/20
Click here to read our Fact Sheet regarding the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 Vaccine.

Visitation Policy: 9/25/20

I wanted to give you an update on our Visitation Policy. Bethesda had its monthly board meeting on 9/24. We discussed the essential caregiver policy and continue to work towards a manageable policy. One of the key factors in the plan is the positivity rate for COVID-19 cases in Brown County. Currently the 7-day positivity rate is 21%. We have determined that the 7-day positivity rate needs to be less than 10%. This coincides with the new memo from CMS Ref: QSO-20-39-NH on Nursing Home Visitation.

We are in the process of establishing our “indoor” patio visits. We have designated spots at both Bethesda Home and Towne Square. For our residents residing at Bethesda Home, we will be enclosing our Chapel area to accommodate these visits. We are hoping for an October 1 start date and finishing within 2 weeks. During this time if the weather does not cooperate, we would not have visits patio visits. For our residents residing at Towne Square, we will be using the sunroom for our visits. We are in the process of installing a sidewalk up to sliding glass door which we will use for our visitors. As we complete this project, we will inform our families of the new process.

We continue to look at ways of doing fun activities with the residents. This past month we have had visitors from the NSU marching band and an outdoor concert with Randy Fauth. We are in the process of planning a Harvest Week too.  Keep watching Facebook for updates on our activities.

Testing Policy:  9/21/20

As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuously receiving updates for CMS (Centers for Medicare Medicaid) and the Department of Health. I want to share the new update on testing requirements now that we have received our POC (Point of Care) testing machine.

Upon receiving this device new requirements on testing for asymptomatic staff will need to occur. Testing requirements are  based on the 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate in our County. Testing will occur based on the following:

  • If the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 5%, all staff must be tested monthly
  • If the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 10% but greater than 5 %, all staff must be tested weekly.
  • If the COVID-19 positivity rate is greater than 10%, then all staff must be tested twice a week.

During this asymptomatic testing, if any staff tests positive this is considered an outbreak and we must test all staff and residents every three to seven days. Currently, based on testing supplies and the turnaround time with a reference lab, we will be testing every seven days.

During the outbreak status we will not be testing staff based on Brown County’s COVID-19 positivity rate. We need to test all staff and residents until we have 14 days of no new positive rates. Once this occurs, we return to testing only staff based on the County’s positivity rate.

Please find the CMS QSO-20-38-NH Memo below with additional details:

qso-20-38-NH testing summary9-21-20

Also, during this time, the Bethesda Board is still evaluating the essential caregiver addition to the South Dakota Long-term Care Reopening Plan. Last Thursday, CMS also sent out an updated Memo, Ref QSO-20-39-NH, which is regarding visitation in Long-term Care. Currently, we are still navigating through this new recommendation.


Scott Eisenbeisz

Continue to watch Facebook and our website for updates about Bethesda Policy and Procedures.

For more information on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html