47 die from COVID-19 at New Hope, Minnesota facility

Forty-seven residents have now died from COVID-19 at St. Therese of New Hope, and the long-term care facility said as many as half its residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.  

According to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) death records, at least 25 people have died at North Ridge Health and Rehab in New Hope and at least 14 residents at Catholic Eldercare in Northeast Minneapolis have succumbed to the virus.

Of the 319 people who have died from the coronavirus in Minnesota, 78% were in long-term care facilities.  

Megan Beauchaine’s 72-year-old father in the memory care unit at St. Therese. He is still negative. She hopes.

“I am hoping and praying he will make it through,” said Beauchaine.  

Even though her father tested negative, she said he was kept with a roommate who tested positive.  

“Aren’t you going to expose him even more?” she asked.

St. Therese is one of the largest long-term care facilities in the state with 258 beds. The units are designed so two residents share a room and four share a bathroom.  

The losses have come quickly at St. Therese. The first two deaths occurred only three weeks ago on April 6.

CEO and President of St. Therese, Barb Rode revealed one-third of the residents testing positive were asymptomatic and 65 staff members have been exposed.  

In a prepared statement Rode wrote: “Identification of so many cases, symptomatic and otherwise, created a massive room transfer challenge for us…. We moved all virus-positive residents together into unit and wing cohorts to prevent infection of others and conserve personal protective equipment…”

It also read that a few of their residents changed their advanced directive DNR/DNI resulting in only a “handful” of the residents being hospitalized and just “one family asked to more their relative from the facility after hearing of a positive test.”

Beauchaine said she was relieved when her father was moved to a private room on Monday, but she was also told he may have been given the COVID-19 test incorrectly.

She added with the exception keeping her father with his roommate, the care he received since moving there in 2015 has always been exceptional. 

“I absolutely loved them there, they are a great staff,” she said.  “I am just sad I can’t visit him. I know I can’t and understand the reasons why, but I don’t want him to leave this world without me at least seeing him.”