Resident At Heritage Receives ‘Presumed Positive’ Test For COVID

Heritage Ministries Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter has confirmed that a patient at Heritage Park in Jamestown has been moved to the facility’s quarantined COVID unit after receiving a COVID-19 test result from the state lab that declared them as a “presumed positive.”

“In the beginning of June we did have the state-mandated testing for all of our residents and they were allowed to refuse,” Rutter told The Post-Journal. “Some did, some didn’t, but a majority of residents were tested. We sent those tests to the state lab and received the results earlier in the week and out of the over 130 residents, one did come back as a presumed positive.”

“Presumed positive is usually called that because the viral load is very low and is close to the cutoff,” Rutter noted. “The way the lab explained it to us is that it’s only reactive on one of the three viral targets. But since it did react on one and it is low that’s presumed positive.”

Rutter noted that the staff at Heritage Park treated the case as if it was a positive test result and moved the resident into their COVID unit.

“That is separate from the rest of the nursing home residents, separate staff, separate residents, no interaction direct or indirect,” he said. “We use only disposables and the resident will remain there until the end of the quarantine period and after that, we will do more testing so that they can return to their home once they have tested negative.”

Rutter could not share any additional details about the patient due to HIPAA laws, but was able to say that he is “doing well” and has shown, prior to and up to today, no symptoms of the coronavirus.

Heritage invested in a COVID unit and team early on in the outbreak of COVID-19, Rutter said, and noted that the facility felt prepared in the event of a positive test.

“Part of our preparation in all of this is we have a COVID team and that consists of experts across several states that we pulled together,” he said. “Not only have we stressed COVID prevention, but also the actual response when we get the inevitable that someone does test positive or in our assisted livings. Part of our prep was how we respond to that. So, we have this dedicated isolated area and they are as separate as they can be.”

Public health director Christine Schuyler said that while she cannot comment on individual cases, the county was aware of the case at Heritage Park.

“I can assure you that as the local health department, we closely monitor all positive cases, including presumptive positive cases, of COVID-19 and issue orders to isolate all positive individuals,” she said. “We immediately begin contact tracing and issue quarantine orders for all close contacts of positive cases. While we work collaboratively with our hospitals and long term care facilities as they serve the health care needs of our residents, we have no jurisdiction over them as they are licensed and regulated by the New York State Department of Health and the state’s regional office works closely with facilities in our county.”


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