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Cloquet care worker diagnosed with Covid


July 24, 2020

An employee of Sunnyside Health Care Center in Cloquet tested positive for Covid-19 last month, and the Cloquet nursing home is now on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of congregate care facilities “with Covid-19 outbreaks.”

Community Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Breuer said the classification was “unfortunate” but technically correct. There have not been any patient cases at the nursing home attached to the hospital — one employee tested positive. The employee had been off work for an extended period of time (since June), became ill during that time, went to a screening facility and was tested, found positive and sent home to quarantine.

According to the MDH site, a facility is considered to have an outbreak if one resident, staffer or contractor tests positive for the virus. Facilities are removed from the state list if they have had no exposure for 28 days.

“I applaud that the state is being so aggressive with safety plans for senior congregate living facilities,” Breuer said. “There are frail at-risk individuals there. But I don’t think this particular case really fits the intent of what the state is trying to do.”

Breuer said no one at Sunnyside was exposed to the employee, and the person will not return to work until they meet all the conditions to do so. He said the hospital and nursing home communicated with all employees and families at Sunnyside.

At the same time, he pointed out that Covid-19 is highly contagious.

“We all have safety plans in place and are trying to adopt best practices to prevent Covid-19 from getting in or spreading, but it could happen anywhere,” he said. “It really shouldn’t be a huge black mark. A person could be asymptomatic, and anyone they contact could be at risk. Everyone is doing the best they can to protect people at all times.”

Breuer said he expects Sunnyside to come off the MDH list soon.


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