Several priests located at a retirement home in Missouri have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, but those who have been hospitalized are likely to be released soon.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis announced April 20 that nine of the 30 retired priests at the Regina Cleri Home in Shrewsbury, a St. Louis suburb, have contracted COVID-19.
The first case was discovered April 18, and two of the residents have since been hospitalized. These residents are likely to be released within 48 hours.
Father Bill Kempf, the pastor of the nearby St. Joseph Martyr Parish, expressed sorrow for the news. He stressed the danger of the coronavirus, noting that people may be carriers of coronavirus without knowing it.
“I just got news from the Archdiocese that I hoped I would not hear during this pandemic. Namely, that the first resident of Regina Cleri, our retirement home for priest[s], has tested positive for the Corona[virus],” he said, according to an April 18 message.
“They, like all nursing homes and extended care facilities have been so careful, and yet… So prayers are appreciated for the residents there. As you know, by virtue of their age, they are ALL in the high risk group.”
COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 80% of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have occurred among people ages 65 years and older.
According to the St. Louis Review, the archdiocese’s newspaper, the retirement home has continued to take multiple precautions so as not to spread the virus among the elderly.
This includes restrictions on visitors and non-essential personnel, which excludes health care workers and hospice care. The retirement home has also instituted daily screenings of all residents and employees and reinforced hand-hygiene practices.
Regina Clarities has offered greater access to hand sanitizers, face masks, and non-touch receptacles for disposal. It has also increased regular professional cleanings and required the staff to wear all the proper personal protective equipment.
“Residents will continue to be closely monitored for symptoms, and the community’s leadership and the archdiocese will continue to be in communication with health officials to ensure all guidelines and protocols are followed,” the St. Louis Review reported.