Fire Incident

Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation & Memory Center
1700 Midway Road
Incident Date: 6/18/2020
Incident Time: 3:50pm

On Thursday, June 18th at approximately 3:50pm, Oakridge Gardens experienced a significant fire that was contained on the Rehab-West unit. The facility emergency preparedness and evacuation procedure was immediately initiated. All residents and staff were safely evacuated from the building within 15 minutes thanks to the quick efforts from our staff. We can’t thank our team enough for their heroic response! Residents were then able to be transferred to Regeneration Hmong Ministry next door to the facility where they were provided with shelter, food and water. EMTs on scene were able to ensure the health and safety of all residents and staff. There are no known injuries to residents or staff at this time. The investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of fire.

All residents were safely transferred to four other great skilled nursing facilities in the area: St. Paul Elder Services, Peabody Manor, Cherry Meadows and Brewster Village. The response from each facility and their team was a big part of the success of ensuring the safety of each resident’s transition. Each of these facilities continue to provide excellent care and support to our residents at this time. Oakridge Gardens staff will also be on-site to collaborate and provide care for our residents. We can’t thank these providers enough for all of their support over the last 24 hours! It means the world to us!

Due to the significant smoke and water damage that occurred throughout the facility, we are not able to release any resident or staff belongings at this time. We have contracted ServiceMaster to assess damage and assist in all of the restoration needs. While we have received a number of donations from community members, we respectfully ask for you to hold these items at this time while we evaluate what is needed.

Right now, there is no estimate on when Oakridge Gardens will return to full operation. We will continue to work closely with our local Fox Crossing Fire Dept. and state agencies to regain permits to reopen.

We are so grateful to be a part of such an incredible community! We want to thank all of the local Fire Fighters, Police Officers, EMTs, Festival Foods, Kwik Trip, Salvation Army, CERT, transportation companies, Oakridge Gardens’ neighbors, and many, many others who showed up to care for and support our residents and team. Please continue to keep everyone involved in your thoughts and prayers.


Good Afternoon,

At this time, we are happy to announce that we do not have any residents or staff members with signs or symptoms of COVID-19. We continue to report our data to the CDC and do not have any active public health investigations going on. We complete daily screening prior to employees starting their shift, in addition to screening residents each shift. We know we share the same goal of serving our community and together, we will continue to deliver the high quality care our residents know and deserve!

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. We know how important it is to each of you to see your loved ones. We are advocating for our residents to the State of WI to release guidelines on visitation. We hope to hear the new recommended guidelines from the State of WI by early next week. We will of course be in touch about any changes. In the meantime, we encourage window visits or a virtual visit via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. that can be set up through the Activity Dept. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 920-739-0111.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Caitlin Higgins, NHA


Good Afternoon,

We hope everyone is staying healthy and enjoying the nice weather! We currently do not have any residents or employees with COVID-19 or signs/symptoms of COVID-19. We continue to closely monitor information from Winnebago Public Health, DHS, CDC and CMS to prevent the illness and strengthen our preparation for a possible outbreak. We will keep you informed if there is a case of COVID in any of our three facilities.

Yesterday, CMS released facility level data of COVID-19 related information. This morning we saw that Oakridge Gardens was on the list of facilities that did not report data to the CDC through a system called NHSN. Again, to be as transparent as possible, we want to let you know that we have in fact submitted data on time each week through NHSN. We notified NHSN of this issue today and they have confirmed with us our data was submitted timely. With many facilities showing up as not having submitted data, but having record that data was submitted and accepted, this brings into question the effectiveness of CMS to be transparent with their stated aim to inform families in impacted facilities. Clearly, facilities that are already mandated to inform families and public health officials of COVID cases, are best suited in informing families.

In other news, we are excited to share we will begin a new roofing project the week of June 15th at Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation & Memory Center. The project entails removing and replacing the shingles and parts of the roof decking, new gutters as well as some insulation. We expect this will take 30-45 days to complete based on weather delays, if any. The work was contracted out early last fall, but was unable to be completed due to cold weather setting in. There will be noise disruption, as expected any time you have work completed on a roof. We will try our best to keep the disruptions to a minimum. The work is being done by American Building Contractors, Inc., a very reputable and highly recommended roofing contractor from right here in Menasha.

We can’t thank everyone enough for the support and understanding these last few months! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 920-739-0111. Have a great weekend!

Thank you,
Caitlin Higgins, NHA

COVID-19 Update DATE: 6/1/2020

TO: All Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation & Memory Center Community Members
FROM: Caitlin Higgins
RE: RETRACTED COVID-19 Positive Case in Resident

Dear Oakridge Gardens Community Members,

We notified you on 5/28/20 of an asymptomatic resident with a positive COVID test result. As part of our response procedure, we began retesting this resident, staff, and other residents with known exposure risk. We wish to notify you that all tests returned back have been negative, including the resident mentioned on 5/28/20.

The CDC recommends an asymptomatic resident needs to have 2 negative test results greater than or equal to 24 hours apart in order to remove from isolation. Given the negative result of the initial retest on 5/28/20, the resident was retested, again, and this test also came back negative. With consultation from Winnebago Public Health, it appears this resident had a false-positive test last week. We plan to retest all employees and resident at regular intervals when additional guidance is received.

We continue to proactively work to keep COVID-19 out of our community. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our residents and staff. Please know that we have followed, and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wisconsin Department of Health (DOH) and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

We thank you for your cooperation and compliance with basic preventative measures we can all practice, such as good hand hygiene, wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home when sick. Together, we can help everyone we care for be healthy and well.

If you have questions or concerns, please call 920-739-0111 or email

Caitlin Higgins, NHA


DATE: 5/28/2020
TO: All Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation & Memory Center Community Members
FROM: Caitlin Higgins, Administrator
RE: Positive Case of COVID-19

Dear Oakridge Gardens Community Members,

Today, a case of COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus, has been diagnosed in 1 resident at Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation & Memory Center. The resident is currently asymptomatic and is in quarantine at this time. The resident was tested in preparation for an upcoming procedure per physician order. As previously mentioned, we completed our employee and resident snapshot testing on 5/21/2020. All tests received back have been negative. We do not have any residents or employees with signs or symptoms related to COVID-19, although we continue to monitor before and during every shift.

We have notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We are taking every step as recommended by authorities to contain the spread. We want to make residents, their families, and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

Developments are changing day by day, minute by minute. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during this challenging time.

We ask that our families, residents and staff do all that they can to support our community by following the recommendations set forth by the CDC: social Distancing/staying home if possible, washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, self-isolating if showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical assistance as necessary.

Thank you all for your support! We will provide updates regularly. If you have any questions, please call me at 920-739-0111.

Caitlin Higgins, NHA

Update 5/22/2020

Good Afternoon,

Earlier this week, we successfully completed COVID-19 testing for all employees and residents. We are beginning to receive those results back and will likely continue to receive results through the early part of next week. A facility representative will notify you or the resident (if they are their own person) of the test results via phone.

At this time, all employee and resident test results received back to us have been negative. No employee or resident currently has symptoms related to COVID-19. We continue to monitor residents throughout each shift. Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Any employees who develop symptoms during a shift are immediately sent home. At that point, they are directed to quarantine at home. This process is also followed for outside vendors.

Please know that we have followed, and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health (DOH) and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We remain in constant contact with DOH and CMS.

We also conduct a rigorous sanitation regimen that follows, and in some cases exceeds, all state and federal guidelines. We have increased the daily volume of cleaning done in common, medical and residential areas. All protective and medical equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

We will continue to provide you with periodic updates with as much information as we can on our efforts to combat COVID-19. On behalf of the entire Oakridge Gardens community, I want to thank each of you for your continued patience and prayers. It means a great deal to us.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Caitlin Higgins, NHA

Update 05-12-2020

At present none of our three locations, Oakridge Gardens, GardenView or the Gardens of Fountain Way have any positive cases of COVID 19. We continue diligent screening of all staff and residents. We have undertaken a number of readiness activities and continue apace in order that we are prepared to deal with a positive case.

As many may know, the State has made testing kits available in order that we may test all staff and residents. This is a good start to helping us manage the virus in our communities. Hopefully it won’t be the last. Testing a wide group of people in a setting like ours is called a Point-prevalence survey (PPS). It is meant to take a global look at a setting. PPS are used in healthcare facilities to identify the number of people with a disease or condition at a specific point in time. A PPS is a snapshot that identifies who might have been exposed to a specific infectious disease, regardless of who is exhibiting symptoms at that time.  Our aim is to understand our COVID state, specifically looking to identify the asymptomatic positive we hear so often about. We will be conducting roughly 238 tests.

We will be conducting our COVID 19 PPS next week, beginning on May 18, 2020. We have a significant number of residents and staff to test so this will take a few days to complete. Testing results will take at least 48 hours to return, dependent on the volume at the State lab and will be returned in the order they are submitted over the several days we will be testing. We will of course, keep everyone appraised of our results.

Thank you for your continued support as we work through this ever-evolving journey to defeat this virus.

April 25,2020 Update

As we all know, COVID-19 continues to affect a growing number of people across the U.S. and around the world. We have continued to monitor our residents and staff on a more than daily basis and will continue to do so.

At this time, we have no cases of COVID-19 and will make every effort to mitigate the potential. We continue our investments in process, education and equipment to deal with the potential. Like any complex healthcare organization, we deal with many moving parts on any given day. Our focus each and every day is to do our best to manage the situation in front of us, which is the potential exposure to COVID-19.

One area you often hear or read about is the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare settings.

Our supplies remain adequate and while they don’t tend to grow over time, we have maintained adequate levels for the safety of our staff and residents. It will continue to be a challenge though and we utilize strategies to safely conserve and extend our current inventories. We have also made purchases of products and technology in order to move away from the “disposable” PPE healthcare has relied upon for so long. One proactive example is our purchase of helmet mounted air purifiers for our staff to use in place of disposable N95 masks should the need present. These helmets are state of the art PPE and are essentially infinitely reusable. These units have a long production lead times due to demand, but will definitely still be of immense value when they arrive. There is little doubt that we will be employing mitigation and PPE strategies well into the fall. Another example is our purchase of special purpose negative air modules for use in designated patient care rooms in the event we have need of specific isolation protocols. While negative air pressure rooms are not required for the management of COVID-19, it is definitely the best way to approach it. These specialized units prevent the air from leaving a room, filter it and discharge it out of the building. It is a preventive strategy and one you won’t find in many LTC facilities. Again, there is a lead time to manufacture, but they should arrive in mid to late May. These two examples represent significant capital investments in the short term, but will be utilized in the future for many different applications. We have long used different levels of patient care “precautions” and PPE in the delivery of care. We will move away from the “disposable PPE” mentality.

Our staff of dedicated people in all departments continue to report for duty and care for the elders at Oakridge, Gardenview and The Gardens of Fountain Way. They are doing great work and have not wavered in their commitment to care, they are essential in so many ways and deserving of thanks.
We hope you are all well and doing your best to stay Safer at Home!

A brief update March 27, 2020

There have been many changes in just a short time because of the COVID 19 virus. What has not changed is the understanding and cooperation we have received from all of our staff, residents and families in what is uncharted territory for our entire society. Much has been asked of all of you and you have given your best.

We remain committed to ensuring our residents and staff remain healthy. We continue to see many changes and new rules from Federal, State and now local government. This presents an obvious challenge in that we have to reconcile all of them almost on a daily basis. Sometimes they say slightly different things about the same subject. That’s inevitable I suppose, we are all doing our best to make the right decisions with the information at hand.

Visitation remains as “essential” only. We have no indication it might be possible to relax this policy, but you can be sure we will celebrate that day together when it does come. We continue to screen all staff and residents on a daily basis, following CDC guidelines for health care. The Safer At Home Act is new for all of us, but our staff, vendors and support agencies are all considered essential so there will be no interruptions in availability. While this act may be difficult for some to comply with, it is a bold and necessary step to stop the spread of this virus and I thank our Governor for his actions.

More changes and challenges are sure to come to all of us, both in the facility and out in the community.

I close by offering a prayer that I received from our friends at Shepherds Care ministry related to the current crisis, I keep it on my desk: I pray the residents and care givers can be spared any overwhelming impacts and God will hasten the day when they can be fully accessible again.

Thank you

Mike Schanke – President

A Message from the Administrator:

On March 12, 2020 we began the process of limiting visitors.

As part of Oakridge Gardens Rehabilitation and Memory Center, GardenView Assisted Living and The Garden of Fountain Way Assisted Living’s commitment to residents and staff, along with our efforts to protect them from illnesses that have started to occur outside of our campus, we are limiting all visitors, guests, and volunteers. We politely ask that you not visit at this time. Please postpone your visits to our facilities until further notice.

Individuals who are not part of our staff or involved with EMS, emergency services or continuity of care will not be allowed to come into the building at the present time. In very limited situations, visitors will be allowed to enter after being screened by a nurse. Screened visitors will still only have limited access to designated areas of the building. Presently we are asking that non-essential visits be postponed. Any visitor under the age of 18 will not be allowed, per State instructions, regardless of the circumstances.

We are adhering to the guidance and requirements of the U.S. Department of Health Services-Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the State of Wisconsin for those skilled and assisted living facilities. We ask for the understanding and patience of our residents, families, friends, and visitors as we implement these best practices in order to protect the safety and health of all the residents and staff to the very best of our capabilities. Please contact us with any questions. We will post periodic updates as circumstances dictate.

Visiting Hours are Mon-Friday 8AM to 5PM for essential visits only. Weekends no visiting unless essential and have called ahead please.