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COVID-19 outbreak leaves Sugar House memory care facility short-staffed

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 22:07:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY — There are at least 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the Legacy Village at Sugar House.

As soon as executive director Dave Egbert found out, he decided it was time for him to stay at the facility 24/7 until it’s safe to return home to his family.

There are more than 260 residents living at the facility, all over the age of 55 — 48 of them are receiving memory care.

“We have the full PPE and it gives a different appearance,” said Egbert. “It can give a very intimidating appearance.”

That was Egbert’s initial concern with employees wearing face shields, but the residents have accepted their caregivers.

“Every once in a while we’ll get a question, 'What is that costume you are wearing? Does that make you hot?' And there’s been some fun answers to that,” said Egbert.

The goal has been to keep things as normal as possible for the residents even though everything has changed for their employees.

Every day, Egbert says employees receive health screens, describe if they have any symptoms and get their temperatures checked.

“It’s been an adjustment every single day for our staff to be here,” said Egbert.

One employee, Egbert said, felt fine until symptoms showed up later in the day.

The test for COVID-19 came out positive and they then began to test their residents.

Nineteen confirmed cases all on the same floor, inside the memory care unit.

Egbert said so far they have prevented the spread to other sections of the facility.

“Things are changing so rapidly,” said Egbert.

With the initial shock, Egbert said seven of their more than 150 employees tested positive.

Twenty employees left — either quitting their job or they could no longer come in because of health risks.

That’s when Egbert decided to move in to help out around the clock.

“Despite the difficulty, it’s been a really positive thing for me and my team,” said Egbert. "We’re going to come out stronger for working through this.”

Egbert said the majority of the residents with COVID-19 have minor symptoms.

The facility will be cleared by the Health Department when they have 14 days of negative test results.