BURLINGTON, N.C. — There are 45 active coronavirus cases in a single long-term care facility and now officials are speaking up.
Alamance Health Care Center has struggled to keep cases under control since the start of the pandemic — citing 147 total residents and staff members testing positive this year.
Right now, this is where the largest cluster of cases are in the entire county.
Because of that, testing is taking place twice a week. A spokesperson, Jonathan Caudill, said it has helped identify many asymptomatic carriers.
Tracking travel history, taking employees and residents temperatures, stopping communal dining, and group activities, and consolidating the location of patients who have tested positive are some of the steps being taken at Alamance Health Care Center.
Jerry Toney’s aunt lives there.
“I think she’s 78,” Toney said.
He wants officials to make the decision to close their doors and relocate residents for the time being.
“When I was over there, it didn’t look too clean and the food wasn’t any good. Myself, I believe I’d shut it down and move [the residents] somewhere else. It’s just something they’re not doing right, and I might be wrong,” Toney said.
While facility officials said they have been following CDC guidelines and closely working with the local health department, the number of cases does not sit well with some community members.
“It’s just down right scary,” said Tina L. Toney, Jerry’s wife.
The Toneys are not the only ones who have fears about the spread of the virus.
“I’m very nervous about the spread. I’m wearing a mask,” said Connie Poovey, who lives in Alamance County.
Poovey has a background as a long-term care facility administrator at a different facility.
She tells Fox 8, the most affective thing the facility can do is to keep families in the loop.
“My heart has really gone out to the staff that has worked so hard to keep folks safe. It’s been a struggle,” Poovey said. “Of course, family members want to be with their loved ones.”
She understands the outbreak is something the administration at Alamance Health Care Center is working to address and that it’s a difficult situation.
“It’s difficult on the staff who are going in and out of the community and concerned about their own families and often having to work extra hours in order to make sure all of the residents are provided for,” Poovey said.
Caudill said officials don’t know exactly how the internal spread started, but residents do regularly leave the center for planned medical appointments or procedures.
Alamance Health Care Center is treating COVID-positive patients at their facility, unless complications worsen, then they will be transported to a hospital.
So far, 51 patients and 34 staff members there have recovered from the virus. Officials said those recoveries are a testament to the high-quality treatment and care that our nursing team provides every day.
The facility has also made enhancements to employee paid leave policies for those impacted by COVID-19 -allowing them to have more time to self-quarantine at home.