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Friendship Terrace resident with COVID-19 tests negative, as do all residents, staff


Residents of Homer thought the worst when it was announced last week that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 had reached Friendship Terrace, the assisted living arm of Homer Senior Citizens, Inc. Two employees had tested positive, and on Friday it was announced that a resident had tested positive for the disease.
    Cases of COVID-19 have run rampant in such congregate living centers around the nation, hitting Anchorage earlier this month.
    But in an announcement Monday, Senior Center Executive Director Keren Kelly said two subsequent tests have shown that the resident is now free of the infection.
    “Once we learned about the positive test, we asked all residents to go to their apartments and remain there,” Kelly told KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson Tuesday. “And we had a team from South Peninsula Hospital come to the facility and test all staff and residents that were at the facility. And we asked the remaining staff that weren't tested onsite to go to the hospital and receive their tests. The residents (had) the rapid test that had direct contact with the infected person, and the remaining residents received the 48-hour test.”
    Kelly reported that no other resident or staff member tests returned positive, and there are no more tests pending. In addition, staff and residents will continue to be administered the test until everyone tests negative for two weeks.
    Kelly says the increase in COVID-19 infections around Homer is disheartening and needs to be reigned-in for the sake of the elders in the community if nothing else.
    “We owe them the respect and dignity that they deserve,” Kelly said. “They have been more concerned about their loved ones catching this disease than themselves. That's how caring these individuals are. When I talked to them, they said, ‘Oh, we'll be fine. You guys are taking care of us. So we worry about our kids.’ That tells you a lot.”
    To help keep residents and employees safe, Kelly said Dist. P Sen. Gary Stevens was able to secure a thousand N95 respirators for the senior center, which were due to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday.
    Kelly also mentioned that the senior center is very short-staffed, and interested parties seeking work can apply online. She says the senior center has an extensive training program for new hires.

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