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Staff Member at Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling Positive for COVID-19

WHEELING — A positive COVID-19 diagnosis among staff at Good Shepherd Nursing Home has caused the facility to limit intake and transfer of new patients.

Good Shepherd administrator Don Kirsch said the staffer had tested positive Tuesday, and in accordance with guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the facility was closed to visitors until two days with consistently negative tests. Kirsch expected that the facility would be back open to visitors Friday.

“We’re just following the guidelines that we’re supposed to follow,” Kirsch said. “We’ve contacted all our residents and all of our family members too, letting them know what’s going on, and assuming that our tests over the next few days are all fine, we’ll be open for family and friend visitation Friday.”

Kirsch said that 92% of residents at the nursing home are vaccinated against COVID-19, and 76% of staff. Nationwide, he said, this puts Good Shepherd ahead of the curve on both metrics, as 78% of nursing home residents are vaccinated, and 55% of staff.

“We eclipse that by about 20%, and those figures are as of July 28, so that’s less than a week ago,” he said.

Kirsch added that the employee who contracted COVID was fully vaccinated at the time of their positive test.

“I think this is a lesson for all of us. The vaccine can help mitigate the symptoms, but the vaccine doesn’t fully protect you from contracting COVID,” he said.

Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department administrator Howard Gamble said the nursing home is undergoing the protocols that have been in place throughout the last year and a half to limit the spread of the disease within staff and residents.

Gamble said that while Good Shepherd will resume testing among the people inside, it was possible that the person who tested positive contracted the disease from somewhere else.

“The individual may have been positive as a result of something outside the facility, and just happened to either be at work or in a time frame to have been at work when they tested positive,” he said. “… It could result in the halting and transferring of patients. That happens quite often. No matter what the virus is — whether it’s the flu or this — even during the pandemic, they couldn’t accept a patient, or wouldn’t transfer them out.”

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