CoronaVirus CS

Coronavirus. COVID-19. 

SHELDON—Two Sheldon long-term care facilities are dealing with coronavirus outbreaks, one of which has claimed the lives of five residents.

Sanford Health Sheldon Senior Care Center confirmed Monday, Nov. 9, five residents there have died from the virus.

Additionally, 14 residents there have tested positive for the virus, according to Sanford patient access supervisor Shawn Dreesen.

The facility reported its first case on Oct. 23.

Rick Nordahl, Sanford Sheldon senior director, was unavailable for comment.

Since Jim Fischer of Sheldon died June 8, O’Brien County has lost 19 residents to COVID-19, as of Tuesday, Nov. 10

Also on Nov. 9, Vista Prairie at Fieldcrest in Sheldon confirmed it has “recorded more than 10 positive tests of COVID-19” in residents.

Two Fieldcrest residents have been hospitalized, but the rest remain isolated in their apartments with mild to no symptoms, according to a release the company provided to The Mail-Sun.

In that release, Vista Prairie Communities president and CEO Jim Bettendorf remarked on the situation in Sheldon and O’Brien County’s consistently high coronavirus positivity rate, which was at 25.4 percent on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

“We remain dedicated to our infection control protocols at Fieldcrest,” Bettendorf said.

“Our staff is working in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and O’Brien County Emergency Response to affirm the best steps to prevent further spread of the virus.”

Fieldcrest has been closed to outside visitors since March 18 and a week after that, the facility installed a videoconferencing system through Microsoft Teams for digital face-to-face visits.

“Our priority is to keep everyone at Fieldcrest as safe and healthy as possible,” Bettendorf said. “We have prevented infections at Fieldcrest since February, following already established infectious disease protocols.

“Fieldcrest leaders supported by our Vista Prairie Critical Response Team are in regular communications with IDPH. We’re confident that our precautions meet or exceed their recommendations.”

Bettendorf noted Fieldcrest has promised to be transparent about COVID cases at the facility while also protecting the privacy rights of patients.

The executive also provided a few positive remarks about the Sheldon team, Vista Prairie’s only Iowa facility.

“I want to thank our staff for their incredible dedication during this challenging time,” he said. “I am praying for God’s protection for all residents and staff during this pandemic event.”

There are three active long-term care center outbreaks in O’Brien County.

In addition to Sanford Sheldon and Fieldcrest, the Prairie View Campus in Sanborn, where multiple coronavirus-related deaths also have been recorded.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 10, there were 101 long-term care center outbreaks in Iowa and 900 deaths traced to them, according to state data.