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Good Shepherd uses federal grant to upgrade protective measures

WHEELING — Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling is using a federal grant to upgrade technology and other safety measures to protect the health of its residents, staff and visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Administrator Donald Kirsch announced that the nursing home received about $600,000 in federal stimulus grant money to purchase equipment that will strengthen protection during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thermal imaging cameras, which cost about $70,000, will be installed at every entrance to automatically record the temperatures of staff and visitors who enter the building. If a person has an elevated temperature, an alarm will sound, and a recording will ask the individual to remain at the entrance while a nurse is dispatched to take his or her temperature

New rooftop air conditioning and air circulating units with HEPA filters and ultraviolet lights that kill any bacteria or viruses before the air is re-circulated throughout the building. The cost of that upgrade was about $415,000.

A portable UV disinfector for $20,5000 will be used on a recurring basis to further disinfect each resident’s room. This device will be used in addition to the ongoing cleaning of all resident rooms by the Housekeeping Department to eradicate all bacteria and viruses in the room. When this device is operating inside a resident room no one will be permitted to enter.

A Rapid Point of Care Testing Device to detect the presence of coronavirus in residents and staff will enable each facility to test its own populations, receiving the test results in 15 minutes or less. The frequency of testing and the groups to be tested, which will be staff and residents, will be determined by the percentage of community spread throughout the county. The higher the percentage of community spread the more frequent the testing will be conducted.

Due to the large number of staff and residents, Good Shepherd Nursing Home is performing more total tests at one time than any other nursing facility in West Virginia. The high volume of testing, coupled with the urgency to determine test results and concern over a nationwide shortage of testing swabs, led Good Shepherd to purchase a total of 14 additional Point of Care Testing Devices and 1,800 testing swabs for a total cost of $65,000.

Good Shepherd has added these measures to augment the ongoing processes currently in place to protect residents, including non-stop sanitation and the use of personal protective equipment.

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