City of Independence, Missouri

The Groves announces COVID-19 outbreak, precautions taken to protect residents, staff

The Groves, a long-term care residential facility located at 1415 West White Oak in Independence, Mo., announced today there are 34 positive cases of COVID-19 at the location. The facility has 400 staff members and approximately 300 residents. The City of Independence is working in collaboration with The Groves to further support their safety measures by providing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and is helping facilitate communications with the Jackson County Health Department and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for additional testing needs.

“Early this week, we discovered a positive case of COVID-19 had been connected to our facility,” The Groves CEO Dee Shaffer said. “This individual was sent home after a routine health screening and those they had come in contact with were also sent home following the report of symptoms. 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. No symptoms had been reported for the previous two weeks or more leading up to the day the individual reported symptoms.”

Following the March 12 State of Emergency declared by Independence Mayor Eileen Weir, The Groves immediately implemented strict safeguards to protect their residents and staff. For four months these protocols successfully maintained zero cases at the facility, however, as is being seen across the Country, COVID-19 has made its way to the facility through an asymptomatic individual. At this time, the cases have been contained within one area of the facility. The Groves has notified all staff, residents and family of the situation.

“I want to be the first person to stand up and defend not only the incredible staff at the Groves, but also the other amazing professionals who work in this very complex, highly regulated, but deeply rewarding industry,” Shaffer said. “We have the most compassionate, talented, and intelligent people working in the rehabilitation and long-term care industry.  I am proud to be one and proud of all of us who will continue to do the right thing for our residents, families, staff, and community. “

It is important that the public continue to take steps to protect themselves and their families even as the restrictions on our day-to-day activities begin to lift.

“While we all want to return to our normal lives it is more important than ever that we practice social distancing, regularly wash our hands for 20 seconds and wear a cloth face covering while also limiting our travel,” Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said. “We are seeing an increase in cases across the country as restrictions lift and must remain diligent to ensure our healthcare workers, first responders and vulnerable friends, family members and neighbors have the chance they need to successfully navigate through this challenging time. Facilities like The Groves have gone above and beyond in taking all necessary precautions to protect their staff and those they serve. This is a sobering reminder why diligence is so important as we continue to combat COVID-19.”

The Jackson County Health Department has a detailed dashboard which includes positive cases by zip codes and outbreak locations. You can find it here, jacohd.org/coronavirus.