3 COVID-19 cases at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One resident and two staff members at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans tested positive for COVID-19, according to a state agency.

Fred Schaible, policy and legislative advisor for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, says the resident has moved to an isolation unit at the facility and is “resting comfortably.”

Schaible says the home is continuing to test additional residents and staff at the guidance of the Kent County Health Department.

Michigan Veteran Homes Executive Director Anne Zerbe said they were prepared for this possibility. That allowed them to quickly respond, providing quality care to the resident while limiting the exposure to others.

“When we did have that first positive case, we could immediately move that person to the isolation unit to make sure we’re keeping that from spreading anywhere else in the facility to the best of our ability,” Zerbe said about their response plan in place.

Zerbe said the health and safety of the staff and providing personal protection equipment is also of critical importance, especially as two of the 500 employees at the home have tested positive for the virus.

“We’ve tried to do our best as well to implement certain types of PPE conservation so that when this happened, and we had a positive case, we would have sufficient PPE to provide to our staff,” Zerbe said. “Right now, we feel that we’re in a pretty good position.”

While visitors haven’t been allowed at the home for weeks, Zerbe said their team keeps in constant contact with residents’ loved ones, seeing transparency and communication as the key to getting through this difficult time.

“Making sure that they feel that they are being informed as soon as we have information has been critical,” Zerbe said. “Reassuring them that we’re not only thinking about their loved one that lives in our facility, but we’re thinking about them as well and knowing that this is a time of heightened anxiety for everyone.”

The home is regulated by the federal government’s guidelines when it comes to COVID-19. However, it has been included in the state’s database that tracks the number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities, Schaible said.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters from Michigan is aware of the situation at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and sent News 8 the following statement:

“I was very concerned to hear about a confirmed Coronavirus case at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and I will continue to closely monitor the situation. The Coronavirus has spared no community, including our veterans – and I will continue to press to make sure there are resources available to support our veterans and the front line workers caring for our nation’s heroes.”