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Merrill Gardens at Santa Maria: Visitors must test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival

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SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Supplies for COVID-19 test kits continue to remain in high demand across the country.

As Merrill Gardens continues to project its community, managers say they are facing more procedures than ever before.

"That’s the biggest challenge right now is the state came out with A new
policy in regards to having any visitors that come in. They have to be
fully vaccinated and a booster," said general manager Audie Sherberg of Merrill Gardens at Santa Maria.

That’s nothing new.

But the bigger challenge is the latest requirement.

"And they have to have a test in the last 24 hours … if it’s a rapid test or
48 hours if it’s a CPR test. The problem is you can’t get these readily," said Sherberg.

Right now, managers say all residents and staff are being tested weekly for everyone’s
health and safety.

"It’s life that’s all I can say about it every day is a different day you go
with the flow," said resident Dian Thomsen at Merrill Gardens.

If one resident or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, managers say
everyone in the facility must then get tested.

"Right now we have a couple cases and we’re basically testing the whole
campus you know and so start an Aries and we feel when it gets to a point
we work through the county," said Sherberg.

One of the main concerns among staff is residents going out.

"To perhaps make a trip to the grocery store or see their family and friends ... and then be bringing it in … but we are being tested weekly so I hope everyone will go smoothly and they’ll take precautions to wear their face
mask," said dining room server Melissa Albus at Merrill Gardens.

Sherberg says he hopes more test kits will be made available so visitors can come to see the residents inside.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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