Fargo nursing home hit hard by COVID-19 outbreak with 12 new cases

Eventide sees nearly a dozen new cases.

The Eventide Fargo retirement community is seen Thursday, April 9, at 3225 51st St. S., Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — A skilled nursing care facility here is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 after reporting a single case one week ago.

Jon Riewer, CEO and president of Eventide Senior Living Communities, told The Forum 10 residents and two staff members at Eventide Fargo, 3225 51st St. S., have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Those cases are in addition to the single case reported April 10. None of the infected were hospitalized as of Friday afternoon. Some have mild symptoms and a few are asymptomatic, Riewer said.


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The spread of cases occurred even as the Eventide team followed all protocols set forth by the North Dakota Department of Health, he said.
"I guess the lesson learned here is even doing everything by the book hasn’t allowed us to keep this out," Riewer said.


The morning of Friday, April 17, Eventide reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case in a resident at its Eventide on Eighth facility in Moorhead. It declined, however, to give an updated number of cases at Eventide Fargo, citing HIPAA privacy regulations.

Riewer said they decided to change course and disclose those numbers later in the day due to misinformation that was circulating in the community.

The new cases were discovered after the senior care facility on Tuesday tested the entire unit where the first case was discovered. The tests were administered five days after that first case came to light, taking into consideration COVID-19's incubation period.

"There’s a lot of data out there that suggests if we just tested everybody that first day, we’d get a lot of negatives when, in fact, there could be some positives," Riewer said.

The outbreak can be traced back to a staff member who showed up for work one day in late March with symptoms and was sent home. The staff person went to his health provider to be checked for COVID-19 but was denied a test, according to Riewer.

The testing situation has changed quickly since then.

Riewer said Eventide was able to get all residents and staff on its Fargo campus, approximately 400 people in all, tested for COVID-19 just in the last day or so. Results might be known this weekend, he said.


Gov. Doug Burgum discussed the impact of COVID-19 on North Dakota's long-term care facilities, including Eventide, during his daily briefing Friday.

At least six nursing homes or retirement communities in Fargo have reported cases of COVID-19. At least two in Moorhead and one in Breckenridge, Minn., have also been impacted.

Burgum said additional protections for congregate living centers are being considered as North Dakota charts a path toward reopening.

"One of our eight criteria was making sure we could protect those most vulnerable," he said.

Riewer said the risks to people in long-term care facilities will still be there, even as other parts of the community eventually "get back to normal."

"Our world is still going to look very different," he said.

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