Walker Methodist reports first COVID-19 cases

A resident and staff member at the Walker Methodist senior living home in East Harriet have tested positive for COVID-19.

The resident tested positive on March 29, according to Walker Methodist officials. The resident is in isolation and is currently in stable condition. The care center declined to give biographical information on the infected resident.

A staff member at the Walker Methodist Health Center at 37th & Bryant has also tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was last on site March 17 and tested positive on March 27. The employee first began showing symptoms on March 19, according to Walker Methodist officials. The staff member is doing well and is recovering at home in isolation.

“For several weeks, we have been preparing our communities and our team members for this. We are prepared, and we are ready for the fight that is ahead of us,” Walker Methodist CEO Scott Riddle wrote in a letter to residents and their family members.

Walker Methodist is screening its 245 residents daily for symptoms, including daily temperature checks. If a resident shows symptoms, the staff requests a test order from a doctor. The positive test result came back within a day, according to Sarah Benbow, Walker Methodist’s director of marketing and communications. The Health Center has also received some negative test results, though those have taken longer to come back, she said.

All group activities at the building have been canceled and residents are being separated from all contact with other residents.

“It’s amazing how cooperative everyone is being,” Benbow said.

The health center began screening employees daily for symptoms of the coronavirus on March 13 and all workers are wearing protective masks. Like many other nursing care facilities, Walker Methodist has staff who work at multiple sites. The health center has been trying to track and screen those workers closely and limit their movements as much as possible, Benbow said.

“I am tremendously proud of the courage our team members are displaying as we face down this adversary,” Riddle wrote to staff.