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Des Moines long-term care facility avoids COVID surge while recruiting healthcare workers

Calvin Community is offering a free 75-hour CNA course to anyone interested.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As COVID-19 cases climb nationwide, 56 long-term care facilities in Iowa are reporting outbreaks.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) an outbreak occurs when at least 3 positive cases are detected in residents during a 14-day period. At that point, long-term care facilities must notify IDPH that they have an outbreak. 

IDPH nurse team members will then work with the facility to provide support and assess the number of cases detected in their residents and staff within 24 hours of reaching the outbreak definition.

Calvin Community in Des Moines is not among those facilities, according to Ruth Pline, the director of the facility's Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. She said that's because of strict COVID guidelines, including limiting visitors and screening anyone who enters the facility.

"In the vision and the heart of Calvin you know, it's to continually improve, it's to offer the best it's to offer the best resident-centered care to improve Calvin Community to improve the community of Des Moines," Pline said.

RELATED: Monday COVID update: 14-day positivity rate at 24%, 6 more long-term care facility outbreaks reported

Pline runs a free state-approved CNA program at Calvin Community that aims to combat the ongoing worker shortage in the medical profession.

While she said Calvin Community isn't short staffed right now, she believes the program is benefitting other facilities that are.

"We have remained in the top 10 in the staffing ratios in Iowa, even throughout this, so this program is helping us to supply our community, with the staff as well," Pline said. 

The 75-hour program is also economical for students.

"Another awesome and unique part of the program is that we are also offering 30 hours of the paid clinical time for the students," Pline said.

You can find more information about the CNA program here.

RELATED: No appointments needed at Polk County drive-thru testing site, but you may have to wait in line for a bit

WATCH | Des Moines area doctors say resources are dwindling as COVID-19 infections continue to spread 

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