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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

3 employees test positive for COVID-19 at Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, facility asking for much needed donations

As of Wednesday, none of the residents at the veterans home have tested positive for the coronavirus.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Three employees at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a facility spokesman. 

During this time, the facility is focusing on both the physical and mental needs of their residents and staff.

Like the rest of the nation, personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply at the Iowa Veterans Home.

If you're able to donate masks, the facility asks that you send them to their address 1301 Summit Street, Marshalltown, IA 50158.

If you're dropping them off, they ask that you bring the masks to their Sheeler main entrance just inside the first set of doors. Don't go past the doors, just leave the masks there and security will make sure they get to the right people.

Besides PPE, the facility is asking people to donate their time by talking over the phone with residents. Since they aren't able to meet with anyone in person, this is the best way for residents to interact with others.

Resident testing:

As of 4/7/2020 

  • 25 total residents tested
  • 24 residents tested negative
  • 1 resident test is pending results 

Staff testing:

As of 4/7/2020

  • 25 total staff members tested
  • 3 staff members tested positive
  • 19 staff members tested negative
  • 3 staff member tests are pending results

A press release from the Iowa Veterans Home said the employees that tested positive are off work and are doing well. They each stopped working at the first report of symptoms. 

According to the facility, the three people had no contact with each other and work in different parts of the building. 

The facility, which has a 500-bed capacity, said they follow guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health for healthcare workers. 

Staff is screened when they arrive at work and when they leave. 

If an employee calls in sick with COVID-19-like symptoms, they are tested through a drive-up process. The facility says the State Hygienic Lab has been delivering results to them within 12-24 hours of testing. 

Wednesday, Local 5 spoke with Michelle Bonnstetter, a northern Iowa woman whose husband, Mark, lives at the vets home. 

Bonnstetter said while she's concerned about her husband, she knows he's in a good place. 

"It's heavily populated," Bonnstetter said. "You figure 600 residents, and then all the workers. I have no clue how many workers there are. It's scary that thought that he might get it, but you could get here too."

RELATED: How US guidance on wearing masks during coronavirus outbreak has evolved

All residents are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms and fever. 

If a resident starts showing COVID-19 symptoms, they are placed in isolation until their test results are received. 

If a resident has to leave the veterans home grounds for emergency medical needs, they are placed under a 14-day quarantine when they get back to the facility. 

RELATED: Live COVID-19 updates: 97 additional positive cases in Iowa, additional death confirmed