Ithaca assisted living residence gets tested for COVID-19

Local News

ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It only took 45 minutes for Cayuga Medical Center to respond to an assisted living residence’s request for COVID-19 testing. 

According to a press release, Cayuga Medical Center’s mobile testing van arrived at Bridges Cornell Heights, an assisted living residence for seniors, on Friday ready to test any interested staff and residents for COVID-19.

Knowledge is power in any crisis, certainly this is true in a pandemic. I have to hand it to Dr. Stallone and the Cayuga Medical experts for their responsiveness. Bridges has been forging ahead with protective measures from the start – suspending visits before the state directive, covering the cost of grocery delivery fees for our staff to help them avoid exposure, requiring staff in off-hours to wear masks and gloves when they must leave their homes and providing double-pay for those who are willing and able to work overtime because it reduces exposure for our vulnerable population. Some of our caregivers are even social distancing from their families within their homes to further reduce the potential for spread. Although we have zero residents infected with the virus, the science tells us that any individual can be a silent carrier. Honestly, I cannot think of a good reason we would not be proactive and do everything within our power to identify exposures so we can actively address them. 

Elizabeth Classen Ambrose, Founder of Bridges Cornell Heights

Previous guidelines hindered essential caregivers who did not show symptoms from getting tested because they would have to be in mandatory isolation while they waited for test results. This could have resulted in staffing concerns. 

The Cayuga Medical Center’s mobile testing van can get results in two days, and new guidelines have allowed asymptomatic essential caregivers to return to work while awaiting their results. This allowed for the staff and residents at Bridges Cornell Heights to get tested without concerns over staffing.

“If our community has mobile testing capacity, I can’t think of a better use than to proactively protect our vulnerable populations in senior residences,” Classen Ambrose said.


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