MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Iowa Veterans Home to put in place restrictions to people coming and going, and asking the staff to do more to help protect the residents.
Twenty-one residents have been tested for coronavirus and no tests have returned positive. However, three staff members did test positive.
“They have not had direct contact with resident care, except for one, she tested positive after her shift but she hadn’t been into work for two days prior to that,” said Timon Oujiri, Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home. “All of our five residence halls, and they all maintain in their same unit and also the staff are assigned to those units so there’s no cross leveling at all with staff going from one building to another.”
The Iowa Veterans Home houses 482 residents, and has close to 900 staff. They do spend time training for medical situations.
“It is mind-boggling, yes we do plan for these type of things as I told the staff we are professionals we train for this,” said Oujiri. “We train for a flu outbreak’s, we train for cold outbreaks, nothing to this scale, but our safety officer and our infection control staff have done a fantastic job.”
The Veterans Home often schedules bus trips for residents. Those are not happening now. Residents who do need to leave the building to see their medical doctor, must be quarantined when they return.
“Keeping COVID-19 out of the Iowa Veterans Home, I told our staff this is the big Trojan Horse but if it gets inside these walls we have issues,” said Oujiri. “The staff has really stepped up they always were great professional staff but when we ask for extra things can you do this can you do that they crossover not buildings but their skill level and step up and do extra things.”