Update Regarding the Status of COVID-19 at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home

Salt Lake City, UT (August 7, 2020) – The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs (UDVMA) and Avalon Healthcare announced that there are no active cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home. According to the Utah Department of Health, who conducted a survey of the facility, there is no longer an active outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility. 

The William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home has had a total of 51 residents test positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak at the facility on May 18.  38 residents of the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home recovered from COVID-19. Unfortunately, 13 COVID-19 positive residents passed away during the outbreak. 

The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs issued the following statement from executive director Gary Harter:

This pandemic has been extraordinarily challenging for long-term care facilities, which—like the Salt Lake Veterans Home—care for individuals who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. 

As we share the news that the outbreak at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home is over, I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous loss of the families and loved ones who lost residents to COVID-19.  Our department, along with Avalon Health Care and the greater veterans community, join those who have lost veterans to COVID-19 in mourning their passing.

I want to also celebrate the tight-knit community of fellow veterans and staff who have overcome this outbreak. We thank the Avalon staff who are on the front lines, the residents for their resiliency and the residents’ families for navigating these uncertain times. 

However, while this outbreak is over, the battle is not. COVID-19 will continue to be a very real and insidious threat for the foreseeable future. The virus is particularly dangerous for the most vulnerable among us, like the residents of our veterans homes and other long-term care facilities. 

We will continue to work with our many partners, including Avalon Health Care, the VA, the Utah Department of Health and Utah National Guard, to ensure that our residents are protected and cared for in the best possible manner.

Avalon Health Care issued the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home is currently free of COVID-19 following an outbreak in May. The dedicated and heroic work of our staff – in concert with the Veterans Administration, the Utah Department of Health and Utah National Guard – made today’s announcement possible. 

While this is an encouraging milestone, it is one reached with a heavy heart as we mourn for those who were lost to this historic threat. Our staff views our residents as an extension of their own families, and losing even one of our nation’s heroes is one too many. 

The fight to safeguard those in our care continues. Though we are now COVID-free, we will not be complacent. We thank our residents and their families for their continued cooperation and look forward to the day when this threat is behind us for good. 

We also want to thank the VA, the Utah Department of Health and Utah National Guard for their ongoing partnership. We have confronted this challenge together, and this achievement is shared by all involved. Collectively, we will continue to do everything we can to keep this virus out of our facility. 

The William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home is owned by the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs and is operated by Avalon Health Care.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in the facility on May 18, a cumulative 51 residents tested positive for the virus. No residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since early June. Of those residents, 38 residents have recovered, while 13 unfortunately passed away. 

There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 positive residents being cared for at the facility. The facility has closed its COVID unit, and all Veterans have been returned to their original rooms.

A total of 30 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 since May 20, all of which have also recovered.

A virtual memorial service honoring those residents who passed away, will be held at a future date. 

Thank you to all Utahns who are working hard to slow the spread of COVID-19 to others, especially our most vulnerable populations. As a reminder, the best ways to slow the spread is to stay home if you are sick, clean your hands frequently, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others and to wear a mask around others. 

For media inquiries, contact Kelsey Price at kelseyprice@utah.gov or (385) 377-0402.

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