Canyon Creek Memory Care

BILLINGS, Mont. (UPDATE) - RiverStone Health announced Friday, July 10, 19 more individuals associated with Canyon Creek Memory Care have tested positive for COVID-19.

The 19 new cases are among the 54 new positive cases in Yellowstone County, reflected on the state's COVID-19 case map Friday. RiverStone Health says the new cases, associated with the outbreak at Canyon Creek, bring the total to 91 cases – 36 employees and 55 residents.

RiverStone Health says of the 19 people testing positive, seven had previously tested negative for COVID-19, seven had tests that were either unsatisfactory or inconclusive, and five were newly tested.

Since Monday, July 6, five Canyon Creek residents have died. RiverStone Health says there are currently four Canyon Creek residents in Yellowstone County hospitals.

BILLINGS, Mont. (UPDATE) - As of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, an additional eight people associated with Canyon Creek Memory Care have tested positive for COVID-19, according to RiverStone Health. The eight include six staff members and two residents. New cases will be reflected on the state of Montana COVID-19 case map on Thursday, July 9. These newly reported positive individuals bring the total number of people becoming infected to 66 – 21 employees and 45 residents.

RiverStone Health says it continues to assist Canyon Creek Memory Care in managing the situation.

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Canyon Creek Memory Care Community in Billings has announced widespread cases of coronavirus at the facility.

According to statement released Tuesday the facility conducted COVID-19 testing on all residents and staff on Friday July 3rd.

Of the 55 Canyon Creek residents and 56 staff tested. 43 residents and 15 staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The facility says seven residents and 26 staff have tested negative.

As of Tuesday July 7th, the facility is awaiting results for nine residents and 15 staff.

Two of the 43 residents that tested positive have been admitted to the hospital while the other 41 remain at Canyon Creek.

The community is under quarantine and residents and their families have been notified of the situation.

Canyon Creek parent company Koelsch Communities says that since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the facility has closely monitored and implemented all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from state and local health departments to prevent transmission of the virus.

Koelsch Communities also says that in Mid-February of this year, protocols were put in place at Canyon Creek to help prevent the exposure of COVID-19.

These preventative procedures included; limiting visitation to only essential persons or in end of life situations, the screening of every individual upon entry to the community (including staff) for temperature, travel history, or known exposure and an increase in both food and PPE supply stock.

Koelsch Communities is working with the RiverStone Health which released the following statement on Tuesday: “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been concerned about an outbreak in a senior living facility,” said John Felton, Yellowstone County health officer and RiverStone Health president/CEO.  “Canyon Creek is but one of the seven senior living residences reporting illness in residents and/or employees in recent days.”

Felton went on to say, “Seniors in congregate living situations are particularly vulnerable to tragic outcomes should they become infected with COVID-19. In this particular instance, we are especially concerned because of the challenges those with cognitive decline face in communicating, following personal hygiene instructions and their need for predictable routine.”

Koelsch Communities says that protecting the well-being of their residents and staff remains our top priority.

Canyon Creek is licensed by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services as an assisted living facility. The state requires assisted living facilities to isolate residents who have tested positive and to quarantine residents who have been exposed to the virus, even if they have tested negative.

The facility is working with RiverStone Health and is setting up separate living situations for residents who have tested positive and those who have tested negative.  Staff caring for those residents are also being segregated, thus reducing the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued COVID-19 testing guidance in response to an outbreak in senior living facilities and RiverStone Health will be working with Canyon Creek to help them follow the guidance. 

Along with investigating each case associated with this facility, RiverStone Health is helping to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment and that all the PPE is being used appropriately to prevent further spread of the virus.

“While we are early in our investigation, given the limited outside activities of these residents, we suspect that this outbreak began with a staff member or visitor who was infected with COVID-19,” Felton said. “This is a heartbreaking example of what can happen when we don’t follow the 3Ws – wash hands, watch your distance and wear a mask.”

People of any age can contract COVID-19 and may become seriously ill, although most people have only mild symptoms and recover. Eight out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have been among people age 65 and older, according to the CDC.

Surveillance testing over the past several weeks found very few positive cases among residents and staff of Yellowstone County assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

A surge in the number of COVID-19 cases last week in Yellowstone County prompted Felton to issue a Health Officer Order prohibiting most visits to senior care and elder living facilities in Yellowstone County.  Felton issued that Order Friday after learning that seven senior care residences reported infections in residents or staff.


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