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COVID-19 continues to prey on local nursing home residents

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A surge of COVID-19 cases attacks a nursing home in Columbia County, the latest strike in some of our hardest-hit nursing homes.

Inside nursing homes across our area, the outbreaks continue to affect patients and staff members. Among the worst, there’s Lake Crossing Health Center in Appling.

In the last week alone, data released by the Georgia Department of Community Health shows out of 75 residents, 33 have tested positive for the virus.

Compared to the data last week, it showed a major spike in deaths and the number of staff members with the virus. Last week, one person had died from the virus, which eventually increased to a total of six deaths. Twenty-five more staff members have also contracted the virus, reaching 33 positives this week.

A spokesperson for Lake Crossing says they've been in close contact with families and their main concern is the health and safety of residents and employees. They say staff members who test positive are sent home, but in the event of a staff shortage, asymptomatic employees will work with COVID-19 positive residents who are separated from negative residents.

According to the government, the facility is classified as “below average,” and after digging into the data, we found a staffing rating of ‘well below average’ for the center.

There were only 9 minutes of care by registered nurses per patient. That compares to 25 minutes as the Georgia average and 41 minutes for the national average.

Lake Crossing isn’t the only nursing home seeing a spike. Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home saw two additional deaths in the span of a week and 14 more staff cases. Data shows 36 residents have tested positive this week with 56 recoveries.

Weeks after an outbreak inside Windermere, things remain stable with no increases in deaths or patient cases this week and only one staff member testing positive.

PruittHealth in both Augusta locations did not have a large increase, according to the report. The Jenkins County location had two more patients test positive, three more deaths, and one more staff member test positive.

Full statement from Lake Crossing Health Center:

“The safety and well-being of the frail and elderly individuals we serve is the highest priority for Lake Crossing Health Center, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we stop the spread of COVID-19 within our facility. Our staff and residents are following the recommended preventative actions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Public Health, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and our Medical Director. Since March 12, we have restricted visitors from entering our facility, cancelled all group activities, and communal dining within the building while remaining focused on ensuring good infection prevention practices. Amid these challenging times, we remain committed to working alongside and providing transparent information to our public health officials, residents, families, staff, and the general public. We believe proactive and transparent communication is critical in the battle against COVID-19. As Georgia expands testing capabilities for long term care residents and staff members regardless of symptoms, our center has been proactive in testing patients and staff and sharing our status related to the virus and our efforts to prevent or mitigate its spread. Lake Crossing Health Center continues to notify families on a continual basis. As we continue to work to keep our residents safe from COVID-19, we appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to reach to reach out if you have questions or concerns.”

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