LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Four employees of Lewis County General Hospital’s nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19, but there is a question about whether those employees are sick.
The four all showed no symptoms, and they were tested as part of Governor Cuomo’s order that all nursing home employees in New York State be tested twice a week.
The first test was administered Thursday by LabCorp.
When those results came back positive Friday night, Lewis County Hospital CEO Gerald Cayer got in contact with Samaritan Medical Center to rule out a false positive. Those employees were tested again using Samaritan Medical Center’s rapid analyzer. Those tests occurred early Saturday, all four tests came back negative there.
A third test was administered, through LabCorp again, and those results are expected to be back late Sunday, or early Monday.
Whether those tests are positive or not, the employees are in isolation at home and will be monitored by Lewis County Public Health, hospital officials said in a statement. Any residents or staff members of the nursing home - officially called the Residential Health Care Facility - those employees came in contact with will be notified and screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
“I don’t think this is about panic. This is about, if you do enough testing, you have positives. If you do enough testing, you have false-positives, and it’s how do you react to that. And I think what were trying to do is react in a very thoughtful, disciplined, focused way,” said Lewis County Health Systems CEO Gerald Cayer.
Earlier in the day, Cayer released a statement saying:
“We are taking this new development very seriously and will follow all New York State Department of Health directives regarding testing and contact tracing to minimize exposure,” Cayer said in his emailed statement.
“Since early March, numerous precautionary measures have been implemented on the Lewis County Health System campus, to ensure the residents, patients, and staff remain as safe as possible from COVID-19.”
There are 139 residents in the health care facility. Until now, no residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
Moving forward, Cayer says the hospital will continue to use enhanced precautionary measures.
Since they’ve started testing on May 5th, more than 900 COVID-19 tests have been administered at the Residential Health Care Facility.
There was a 5th positive COVID-19 case appearing in Lewis County Saturday - that case has no correlation whatsoever to the cases in the health care facility.