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Third resident tests positive for COVID-19 at Fairbanks care facility

Both residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Denali Center in Fairbanks. Photographed Tuesday. (Photo by Eric Engman)

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A third person living at the Denali Center in Fairbanks has tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus, hospital officials said Wednesday.

The woman over the age of 90 is doing “very well,” said Liz Woodyard, administrator for the Denali Center.

Two other residents who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 are also doing well, Woodyard said.

“One was on the medical floor and she’s improved so much that she was transferred back to Denali Center,” Woodyard said during a video call with reporters on Wednesday.

Last week, the facility began testing all staff and residents after both a resident and staff member tested positive for COVID-19. A total of five Denali Center employees have tested positive for the disease and some staff results had not yet come back on Wednesday afternoon.

All of the test results for residents at the center have come back, Woodyard said. The 90-bed Denali Center is operated by Foundation Health Partners — which also runs Fairbanks Memorial Hospital — and has 73 residents ranging in age from 20 to 99, as well as 130 staff members.

Officials had opted to test everyone at the facility out of an “abundance of caution,” including those who were asymptomatic, according to Dr. Angelique Ramirez, quality medical director of Foundation Health Partners. The decision was based on new medical literature and “the recognition that a long-term care facility represents an extremely high-risk facility,” Ramirez said.

In terms of testing anyone again, Ramirez said Foundation Health Partners officials would be meeting with the state to determine the best way forward.

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