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News >  Spokane

Positive COVID-19 test in Spokane Valley retirement community

March 19, 2020 Updated Thu., March 19, 2020 at 7:12 p.m.

There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident at Holman Gardens in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident at Holman Gardens in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A resident of the Holman Gardens retirement community in Spokane Valley has tested positive for COVID-19, health officials confirmed on Thursday.

The person, who was not identified, has moderate symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kelli Hawkins, public information officer at the Spokane Regional Health District.

Health officials are now in the process of identifying and alerting anyone who may have come into contact with the resident of the 96-unit facility, which is located at East 12th Avenue in Spokane Valley and operated by Spokane Baptist Association Homes.

The person has not been hospitalized and remains inside their apartment in self-isolation.

Glen Pierce, CEO of Spokane Baptist Association Homes, said his staff is in daily communication with the resident.

Spokane County reported four additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to nine. Detailed information about those diagnosed with the illness was not immediately released.

Holman Gardens had instituted visitor restrictions before the diagnosis, Pierce said, and many residents have chosen to self-quarantine.

Last week, the facility reassigned housekeeping staff from residential units to further emphasize cleaning of common areas, Pierce said. Holman Gardens is following health department recommendations on social distancing, including limiting the number of residents who can ride an elevator at any given time.

After the COVID-19 diagnosis of one of its residents, Holman Gardens is still limiting visitation to one per day, but during work hours only, and guests must be screened at the office before entering.

As for whether it would consider a full ban on visitation, Pierce said Spokane Baptist Association Homes would look to the health department for guidance.

Holman Gardens is screening staff for illness at the beginning of every shift, including taking temperatures and looking for other symptoms of COVID-19. Starting last week, meals were delivered directly to residents’ apartments and all events that require residents to congregate have been canceled.

Pierce said he is concerned that the illness could spread, especially given the senior population that lives at Holman Gardens.

“We’re hopeful that because of the precautions we took, we’re trying to keep it at bay,” Pierce said.

Holman Gardens is one of three retirement communities operated by Spokane Baptist Association Homes, a nonprofit based in Spokane since 1967. It also operates Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace in North Spokane. Staff members are not shared between the facilities, Pierce said.

Holman Gardens is a retirement community, not a long-term assisted care facility like the Life Care Center in Kirkland, where more than 80 residents had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to the Seattle Times. As of Thursday, 35 of the 60 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in King County were associated with the Life Care Center, according to the King County Department of Public Health.

Older adults are at higher risk of becoming severely ill when infected with the coronavirus, according to early data on COVID-19 patients in the United States published by the Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday. Estimated fatality rates are highest among people over the age of 85, followed by people between the ages of 65 and 84. The analysis covered reported COVID-19 cases in the United States through March 16.

“We’re treating this just like we are all of our positive cases. We’re investigating who would be in contact, making sure they know, and we’ll monitor those in contact for any fever or respiratory symptoms,” Hawkins said.

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