Community Outreach Events at Sauer Health Care in Winona MN

Thank you Chrysler WinonaSugar Loaf Ford Lincoln and Northwestern Mutual for donating the dairy baskets for 25 of our staff! 🐄 🥛 🧀 #JuneDairyMonth

June 25th 2021

COVID-19 Update!

You will get to see our eyes, but not our smiles…just yet!

We received new guidance today from the MN Department of Health that staff and visitors no longer have to wear eye protection!  Due to our high COVID-19 vaccination rate of residents and staff, low county transmission rate, and no outbreaks in the last 14 days Sauer Health Care has met ALL criteria for staff to no longer have to wear eye protection.  This may change if the county transmission rate increases, vaccination rates fall below 70% or if we have an outbreak.

June 25th 2021

COVID-19 Update!

We are happy to report, as of 5/18/2021, 81% of our staff are vaccinated and 86% of our residents.  As a facility, those numbers are above state average as reported by Leading Age Minnesota on 5/7/2021 reporting all MN facility staff at 59% and residents at 84%.  Most recently guidance has allowed for more in room visits and we are updating our policies to reflect these changes.  At this time we are allowing up to 2 visitors to have a visit in a resident’s room.  Exceptions may be made for larger groups.  Please call ahead so we can provide those accommodations.  Restrictions are lifting for residents and visitors who have been vaccinated that will allow for visits without masks and social distancing.  MDH reminds us that the core infection control principles still must be followed.  Visitors in the building, need to remain 6’ from other residents, staff and visitors regardless of their vaccination status.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and we are overjoyed! May 24th 2021

“Together through the Seasons” was the theme this year for National Nursing Home Week and this describes our team perfectly. This past year, our team have shown an incredible and steadfast dedication to our residents. The seasons were very long in 2020 but our commitment could not be stronger. Sauer Health Care looks forward to many more seasons together. ❤️ #Sauerstrong #frontlinewarriors May 15th 2021

National Nurses Day! May 6th 2021 #Sauerstrong #nationalnursesday #frontlinewarriors

COVID-19 Update!

Spring is here!

We are happy to see the green grass and can’t wait to fill flower pots in the coming weeks.  The nice weather means more time outside for everyone, which is something we all need these days.  Outside visits at nursing homes continue to be MN Department of Health’s preferred method for visiting.  Recently, MDH has loosened some of the guidance related to physical touch, however we are reminded daily that the threat of the virus is still very prominent in our lives. Despite the very low cases of COVID-19 in MN nursing homes, case rates in the community have climbed dramatically again which gives us concern and need increased vigilance.  At this time Winona’s positivity rates remain below 5%, but it has been slowly increasing in the last few weeks, more so in other areas of the state.  Nursing homes continue to test based on the federal government requirements and Sauer Health Care hasn’t had a positive staff person since January 5th.

MDH continues to require us to follow the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention:

  • Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Hand Hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
  • Face covering or mask
  • Social distancing at least 6 feet between persons
  • Instructional signage in facility providing education on COVID etc.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touch surfaces
  • Appropriate staff use of PPE
  • Effective co-horting of residents who test positive for COVID-19
  • Resident and staff testing as required testing

The core principles are consistent with the CDC’s guidance for nursing homes and we are required to adhere to them at all times.  MDH states that visitors who are unable to adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit and/or should be asked to leave.  We really hope we don’t have to do that, so we ask that you please remember these are not our rules and we are doing our best to keep everyone safe.

Tara has been working on getting volunteers, entertainment and Chapel Services back in the building with our biggest challenges being space for required social distancing and singing.  MDH does not recommend singing, saying “singing has the potential to increase the risk of exposure through respiratory particles.”  Tara is working with local clergy on a plan.  More information to follow.  We are excited to have musical entertainment back in the building!

I realize this is a lot of information and not necessarily information that anyone wants to hear, but I wanted to be sure to provide you with the most up-to-date information on what we are doing to keep everyone safe, but also allowing for safe visits.  We really do hope to see your smiling faces in our building in the near future.  In the mean time, as the weather improves, please take advantage of our outside areas for visiting!  If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call Cindy, Director of Nursing (507) 494-6283 or me.

On 4/27/2021 CDC and CMS introduced new guidance that MDH is reviewing, we expect to hear from MDH the week of May 3rd on how we are to proceed.  At first glance, it appears there will be some advantages for residents and visitors to be vaccinated.  It sounds like facilities will be required to keep vaccination status of visitors on file. Visitors can refuse to provide that information, but then we would be required to treat that visitor as unvaccinated. More information to come!

May 4th 2021

Congratulations to Sauer Health Care Administrator, Sara Blair, on being named Business Woman of the Year in recognition of her outstanding and inspirational leadership and steadfast dedication to her staff, residents, and families throughout the past year. We are all grateful to have our confidence so well placed. Well deserved! April 21st 2021

Happy Volunteer Week! April 20th 2021

New COVID-19 updates!

Recently MDH issued new guidance related to visitation. We hope these are the first of many changes we will see in the coming months.  Although there are several new things we want to review, many of the guidance is not that new for Sauer since we’ve been offering indoor visitation since last October (aside for our need to halt when the county positivity rate rose November-December).  At this time, Sauer is not going to be offering in room visitation, but it is coming soon.  There are several new documents that came out on March 17th and  we have reviewed and updated our policies.  I want to briefly review some of the changes and then encourage you to call and ask if you have more questions.  At anytime we are happy to get you copies of policies, but know these are changing quite regularly based on updated guidance we get.  Here are some of the highlights from the recent memos we received:

  • Indoor and outdoor visits no longer requires our staff to supervise!
  • New admissions, that are fully vaccinated (as defined below) and have not had prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days, are not needing to quarantine (this includes hospital returns)
  • Residents who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after non-medically necessary outings, unless they spend 15 mins or more in a 24 hour period within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19.
  • Residents who are fully vaccinated, can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting mask (if tolerated) and by performing hand hygiene before and after.   However, visitors should stay 6 feet away from all other residents and staff in the building.
  • If the county positivity rate rises to medium or high again, Sauer may consider offering testing to visitors-we are working on the logistics of how this would work. More information to come.
  • Neither testing nor vaccination will be required of visitors as a condition of visitation.
  • Unvaccinated residents who leave the building, may not be required to quarantine when they return if they:
    • Tested positive by RT-PCR testing within the 90 days before returning to the facility from an outing
    • Tested positive by antigen test within 90 days before returning to the facility from an outing and had symptoms during the infection.
    • Have been released from isolation per MDH and CDC guidelines prior to outing.

Residents are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after their second dose of a vaccine that requires two doses or two weeks after they get a single dose of a vaccine that requires one dose.

March 24th 2021

COVID-19 Update!

We are excited to learn that a significant amount of new guidance came out this week that will impact all of us as we move forward.  The media has presented it as “federal officials relax guidance on nursing home visits”.  Although new guidance is being released, the true impact on Sauer still needs to be determined.  As we sit in on calls with our local and national government,  we are learning there are still facilities not doing indoor visits and most of this guidance is aimed specifically at them.  The MN Department of Health has assured us they are going to “adopt” the new CDC and CMS guidance, although they have not officially changed MN nursing home guidance.  We ask that you give us some time (till mid next week) to review the new guidance, wait to see if MDH updates their guidance and for us to update our policies.  When we have done that we will communicate this to families via our website and Facebook page, and to residents via verbal communication and our internal TV channel and to our staff via verbal communication and signage.

Below is a summary of the most significant changes we will expect to implement in the coming week.

  • Fully vaccinated health care workers with a high risk exposure, who are asymptomatic do not need to be restricted from work for 14 days following their exposure.
  • Quarantine is no longer recommended for residents who are being admitted to a post-acute care facility (nursing home), if they are fully vaccinated and have no had prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • A resident who has been fully vaccinated can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after the visit.  Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  • Outdoor visitation remains the preferred method for visiting residents in nursing homes.
  • No changes to outbreak testing for Sauer Health Care at this time re: visits.  All visits are suspended during outbreak testing.  Compassionate care and end of life visits will continue during outbreak testing, however each visit will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

Again, we ask that you be patient as we review the latest memo from the federal government and await guidance from the MN Department of Health. 

March 12th 2021

This week we implemented a new phone system. We appreciate your patience as we work through the “kinks”. Currently the residents’ phones only ring for 20 seconds before an automated message comes on saying the resident is not available. We will be increasing the time to 1 minute to give residents’ time to answer their phones. Our phone numbers have not changed. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any troubles reaching the right person! Thank you!! ☎️

February 10th 2021

COVID-19 Update!

We are excited to announce that we have completed our second round of COVID-19 Vaccinations on February 3rd.  Thank you to all the residents and staff who have gone through this process with us and continue to fight COVID with courage!  Please note, that at this time the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has not communicated any changes to our current safety protocols and has not indicated their intentions to relax restrictions.  We are hopeful for this to change in time but for now we will continue with the safety guidelines set forth by MDH in our facility and during your indoor family visits. 

We have been grateful to begin hosting indoor visits in our chapel with family and friends once again.  Since we re-opened on January 21st we have hosted 37 visits in our Chapel!  Please contact the TR Department to schedule your visit by calling 507-494-6290 or emailing  TR staff are available to make appointments Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, but please leave a message and we will return your call.  Visits are available some evenings and on weekends in the afternoons.  Time slots fill up fast so it is recommended to call at least 2-3 days prior to your desired visit. 

Again, indoor visit guidelines have not changed with our vaccination clinics.  Residents and their families are asked to wear appropriate masks and eye wear (provided by Sauer), remain socially distant throughout the entire visit, not share items back and forth during visit, and not eat or drink during visits.  We ask for your understanding and cooperation with these guidelines that are in place from MDH. 

February 5th 2021

COVID-19 Update!

Many thanks to our residents and staff for their cooperation with our recent outbreak testing and COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  We look forward to our next vaccine clinic on February 3rd, at which time, many of our residents and staff will receive their second dose of the vaccine and where others will have the opportunity to receive their first.  Consent forms will again need to be signed for the 2nd vaccine.  Residents or their POA will be receiving them soon.

Following our most recent outbreak testing, we anticipate resuming our indoor visits on Thursday, 1/21 pending test results from 1/19/21. Contact our TR staff Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00 to schedule an indoor visit by calling 507-494-6290 or email  We will do our best to accommodate your needs based on times available.   Thank you for your patience as we know how important indoor visits are and how frustrating it can be when visits need to be canceled due to county positivity rates or COVID cases within the facility.   

January 20th 2021

Today was a historic day in the fight against COVID-19 and a personal victory for those of us at Sauer Health Care.  January 6th 2021

Travis LaCore, Consultant Pharmacist COVID-19 Vaccine Information  Trav Vax Video2 Revision 1.mp4 December 22nd 2020

For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine please visit COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC   December 17th 2020

COVID-19 Update!

Dear families/friends of Sauer Health Care,

This has been a very difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are pleased to share some good news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective, and our staff and residents are a first priority to receive it! This is very encouraging news!

The vaccine will soon be available and we expect to hear word any day about when we will start vaccinating our residents and staff.  Staff and residents will not be required to get the vaccine, however our Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Edin and our Pharmacist Consultant, Travis LaCore, strongly encourage everyone at Sauer Health Care to receive it.  We are moving forward with our plans and will provide additional details soon.  We need a signed consent form for the pharmacy to administer the vaccine, however we are waiting on a fact sheet for the vaccine we will receive.  We have partnered with Walgreens to receive and administer the vaccine to our staff and residents.  As soon as we have more information on exactly which vaccine we will be receiving we will let you know. There will be no costs to get the vaccine.

We encourage as many residents as possible to get this vaccine. We know too well the elderly have a much higher risk for getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine has been shown to provide a great deal of protection against serious illness due to COVID-19. The more residents that get vaccinated, the better we can protect our facility against potential outbreaks and save lives.

This vaccine has gone through testing and clinical trials to ensure it meets the highest safety standards. It also is safe to get if you already had the virus. The health and safety of our residents is always our top priority, and we are confident this vaccine is a much better option than the risk of getting this virus.

There are potential side effects and when we receive the fact sheet we will share that information with our families and residents. What we are told is that these side effects are similar to the potential side effects of the flu shot, but they occur more frequently. The vaccine requires two doses. Residents and staff will need to get both doses to ensure the best results. The second dose will be given approximately 21 to 28 days after the first dose.

We will continue to take all necessary