'Heroes Work Here'

A sign celebrating essential care workers stands outside Savage Senior Living at Fen Pointe.

NEW PRAGUE — Praha Village senior living recently reported COVID-19 exposure, but it’s unknown how many residents or staff have been infected.

Dave Saemrow, the vice president of marketing and public relations for the facility’s operating company, Cassia, declined to provide additional details.

The Minnesota Department of Health continues to publish the names of congregate care facilities that have reported an exposure from a resident, staff person or visiting provider.

The listing, which Praha Village appears on, is updated weekly.

“Recently, positive cases were discovered at our location,” Saemrow wrote in a statement to Southwest News Media on Oct. 13. “Out of respect for resident/family and staff privacy and in alignment with the Minnesota Department of Health, we do not divulge numbers at our locations.”

The Mala Strana Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center, also in New Prague, experienced a large outbreak beginning in mid-July.

Marc Halpert, chief operating officer of Monarch Healthcare Management, said 40 residents and 25 staff members tested positive. Nine residents, six of whom were receiving hospice care, died.

Halpert confirmed Friday, Oct. 16 there are currently no positive cases among any of the facility’s residents or staff.

Saemrow stated no one with a positive case is present at Praha Village, and “affected staff are quarantining at home.”

It’s unclear if residents have been infected or if infected residents are receiving care elsewhere.

Saemrow confirmed no related deaths have occurred.

According to Saemrow, Praha Village staff and residents have implemented many measures — such as weekly testing and frequent symptom screening — to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

The facility is currently not allowing outside or window visits, but instead encouraging FaceTime and frequent phone visits, he said.

While outdoor visitation has been used frequently at Minnesota assisted livings facilities in recent weeks, the state health department also recently lifted restrictions on in-person visits.

“We are extremely grateful to our employees who faithfully care for residents each day. As Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm points out, care communities with employees or residents with Coronavirus have not done anything wrong and should not be labeled deficient,” Saemrow wrote. “She also explained that with community transmission nationwide, we should expect more care communities to show up with positive cases.”

“At present, we are most concerned with providing the best possible care for residents, supporting staff and communicating with families, and are not able to provide media interviews,” he concluded.

Minnesota recorded a record-high 2,297 new COVID-19 infections Friday, Oct. 16.


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