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News >  Spokane

3 COVID-19 cases reported among employees of Spokane retirement community

UPDATED: Thu., April 2, 2020

Several employees of Lilac Plaza, shown here on April 9, 2018, have tested positive for COVID-19. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Several employees of Lilac Plaza, shown here on April 9, 2018, have tested positive for COVID-19. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Three employees at Lilac Plaza, a retirement community in Spokane, have tested positive for COVID-19.

They are not employees who work directly with residents, however, and they are isolating at home, Glen Pierce, CEO at Spokane Baptist Association Homes, said.

“They didn’t interact with residents,” Pierce said. “We have no residents we know of symptomatic.”

Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace are two retirement communities located side by side with 250 residents in Spokane, but they are not skilled nursing or assisted living facilities with medical staff. Lilac Plaza does have a wellness coordinator who can check on residents not feeling well.

Staff members are screened for a fever twice a day and sent home if they are symptomatic, Pierce said. So far five employees have been tested, and three employees tested positive. Two others are waiting on their test results.

None of the five employees are at work.

Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace are taking measures to ensure staff members who do interact with residents use personal protective equipment. Residents are mainly quarantining in their apartments, which have full kitchens, Pierce said. They can leave for essential trips, but a lot of residents have family or friends bringing groceries.

Residents who eat food from Lilac Plaza or Lilac Terrace are served by staff in masks and gloves in their rooms, although Pierce said he does not have enough personal protective equipment to change it every day. They recently received some reusable, washable masks.

The Spokane Regional Health District has been in contact with Pierce, and he told them about the measures that had been taken.

This week Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer, said COVID-19 was in 108 long-term facilities statewide. COVID-19 can lead to severe health risks in people over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions, making long-term care facilities particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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