Assisted living facility fights statistics, reports no COVID-19 cases

FITCHBURG, Wis.– With no positive tests, a Wisconsin-based assisted living corporation is fighting the odds of coronavirus.

One-third of coronavirus related deaths are workers or residents in nursing homes, according to a database from the New York Times.

No residents or employees at any of the eight Sylvan Crossings assisted living facilities around the state have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CEO Jaime Schwingel.

Before the coronavirus first arrived in the United States, Schwingel said she put a plan in place to fight the virus in her assisted living facilities.

“It was really focusing on prevention of restricting visitors, training and education, and then just monitoring and starting to screen our employees and our residents every shift,” Schwingel said.

Schwingel said the key is making sure that employees stay safe and healthy outside of work, so that they don’t bring the virus to the residents.

“I think that’s the only difference from when I’ve been talking to some different peers and colleagues in the industry, is we really have been focusing on employee health, because if the virus were to enter, it would be by one of our employees,” Schwingel said.

Sylvan Crossings introduced a campaign to keep employees healthy, with the incentive of a year-long gym membership if they don’t get sick during the pandemic.

The absence of visitors has been hard on the residents, according to Life Enhancement Coordinator Jamie Beuno.

“It does take a toll on them,” Beuno said. “They see us everyday, but we’re not their grandchildren or their children.”

Beuno has been trying to keep the residents occupied with activities, as they can’t see each other either.

“They sometimes have to yell at each other across the hall and stuff like that,” Beuno said. “Just trying to come up with creative ways to to different activities with them.”

Sylvan Crossings is a part of the 373 nursing homes across the state that will be testing all residents and employees regardless of symptoms or not.