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COVID-19 outbreak at Independence senior home

Mike Genet

Health officials have traced a COVID-19 outbreak this week at a long-term care residential facility in Independence to an asymptomatic staff member.

As of Thursday afternoon, officials confirmed 35 total cases at The Groves, off Truman Road between Crysler and Forest avenues in northwest Independence.

Of those cases, 25 are residents and 10 staff members, and Groves CEO Dee Shaffer said most cases thus far appear to be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, and no hospitalizations. All resident cases have been confined to a single unit on one floor.

Until this week, The Groves had no COVID-19 cases.

Shaffer said the facility discovered the positive case early this week. That person was sent home after a health screening, as well as those with whom they had come into contact. The facility has about 300 residents and 400 staff members.

“After investigation, we were able to determine that the likely source of the outbreak could be traced to one asymptomatic staff member, and our safeguards did not appear to fail,” Shaffer said in a release. “No symptoms had been reported for the previous two weeks or more leading up to the day the individual reported symptoms.”

The Groves has notified staff, residents and family of the situation, and Shaffer said she defends the staff’s work during the whole pandemic.

The city of Independence says it is working with The Groves and the Jackson County and state health departments for additional testing needs. Mayor Eileen Weir the outbreak is a reminder to remain consistent with basic public health precautions even as restrictions start to ease around the state and country.

“Facilities like The Groves have gone above and beyond in taking all necessary precautions to protect their staff and those they serve,” Weir said in a release. “This is a sobering reminder why diligence is so important as we continue to combat COVID-19.”