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    Michigan National Guard assists COVID-19 testing at Berrien County long term care facilities

    Michigan Guard conducts COVID testing in local communities

    Photo By Master Sgt. David Eichaker | U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Les Petitpren, 110th Medical Group, 110th Attack Wing,...... read more read more



    Story by 2nd Lt. Ashley Goodwin 

    Michigan National Guard

    LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan National Guard visited three long-term care facilities on May 28, 2020, including Riveridge Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, West Woods of Bridgman, and Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, to assist with continued COVID-19 testing in Berrien County.

    This initiative is part of the Michigan National Guard’s collaborative effort with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the State Emergency Operations Center to assist with voluntary COVID-19 testing for staff and residents at the request of long term care facilities across Michigan.

    “It’s important for the county and state to have a good baseline for the results of COVID-19 testing, so the Michigan National Guard really helped in getting the testing completed at multiple facilities to help collect as much data as possible in just one day,” says Jana Broughton, administrator at West Woods of Bridgman in Bridgman, Mich. “The Michigan National Guard was very professional and did a great job putting staff and residents at ease during the testing.”

    Across the state, the Michigan National Guard has more than 60 trained COVID-19 testing teams ready to assist, 15 of which are currently assigned to support this long term care facility testing mission. Separate teams have recently supported Michigan Department of Corrections facilities throughout the state. These three-member teams include a certified medic to conduct the testing and two members to assist with paperwork, logistics, and non-medical tasks. Teams are equipped to perform testing, or to train staff members to perform testing at the discretion of the long term care facility.

    “Safety for our residents and staff has been extremely important to our facility,” says Aaron Grandstaff, assistant administrator at Riveridge Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Niles, Mich. “We are striving to stay ahead of COVID-19 and getting the data so we know where we stand is a major factor in that.”

    Maintaining this spirt of safety was paramount for the National Guard testing teams. All team members had previously tested negative for COVID-19 and had been self-isolating in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance to ensure health and safety and to protect Michigan communities. The teams wore personal protective equipment, including Tyvek suits, face shields, nitrile gloves, and face masks (N-95 or surgical, as appropriate).

    “In this time where you just don’t know where the disease is heading, so having a great team makes all the difference,” adds Petra Woods, infection prevention specialist, Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing in Stevensville, Mich. “We are doing our best here and we want to work with the community to keep moving forward with good results.”

    “We have had surprise inspections and we are held to very high standards for infection control & COVID-19 and after a very thorough review we had no citations and no recommendations, which means – given the uncertainties of COVID-19 – this facility worked as a team, fighting the unknown…very successfully,” says Patrick McQuone, administrator at Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing in Stevensville, Mich.

    McQuone adds that the National Guard’s presence within these facilities was well received and positive.

    “In my 35 years of working in this career, this was my first interaction with the National Guard in a facility,” says McQuone. “It was everything I thought it would be – the guard members were polite, professional, kind, and gentle. They helped to alleviate our fears and did the job they were tasked to do.”

    Chief Master Sgt. Charles Halt, 217th Air Operations Group, Michigan Air National Guard was one of the guard members who helped complete testing throughout Berrien County.

    “At Riveridge Manor, we completed around 40 tests with two teams in place, one for the COVID wing and one that tested the rest of the facility. We have 10 teams heading out to different locations across the state regularly [to do the same thing], Halt said. “I’ve really enjoyed interfacing with the community and we’ve had really positive interactions. We have been working jointly with the Army National Guard and it’s been great.”

    After testing was completed the directors of the facilities transported the samples to the county health department. The Michigan National Guard continued its testing at long term care facilities across the state through the end of May.



    Date Taken: 06.03.2020
    Date Posted: 06.03.2020 16:21
    Story ID: 371393
    Location: LANSING, MI, US

    Web Views: 232
    Downloads: 0