PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. — On Thursday, Governor Cooper announced every single one of the 3,800 long term care facilities in North Carolina will receive much needed, extra resources.
“We’re sending out personal protective equipment packages to all of our long term care facilities because we know they need that equipment to keep their patients and their staff safe,” Cooper explained in a press conference.
At Clapps Nursing Center in Pleasant Garden, they’ve had a continuous outbreak since April 17.
The administrator Danielle Hollowell says they need more PPE and quicker testing capabilities to get it under control.
Currently 21 of their residents have COVID-19. At one point, 51 people had the virus. Hollowell says 30 people have already recovered.
But she says the facility only has enough PPE for the isolation unit, and that test results are coming back too late for staff to react quickly and proactively.
Hollowell says they’re doing the best they can, but they need help.
“One resident in a room will be positive and the other resident will be negative. But wait two days, and that second person in the room will be positive,” she said.
It’s been almost exactly a month since the first case of COVID-19 crept into Clapps Nursing Center.
Hollowell is frustrated that they’re still trying to get it under control.
“It’s impossible to prevent if we can’t get quick testing and we can’t get the PPE. We need to be preventative and proactive like we’re taught to be,” she said.
From her office, with her mask on, Hollowell shared some of the struggles her staff is facing each day.
“If a symptomatic person from the community goes to the ER, they can find out their COVID results within 45 minutes to an hour,” Hollowell said. “We have to wait normally over 24 hours. That makes it very difficult.”
Hollowell says her workers are doing what they can with what they have, but they need more.
“We’ve actually even had shipments [of PPE] that were supposed to be here next day that were seized and sent to other states,” she said.
They’re waiting for their turn to get additional support from the state in the coming weeks.
“I did receive an email this morning that today would be the first roll out of additional PPE,” Hollowell said. “It’s going to two regions in North Carolina. We’re not in one of those regions.”
Renee Godard, whose mom lives at Clapps, is worried it’s not enough.
“Every time, when the CNAs walk through the door, they should know they’ll be protected and they are not going to be the vehicle that moves COVID from one patient to another,” she said. “We need PPE. That should be the number one priority.”
So far, each week, Godard’s mom has tested negative for the virus.
“I worry every day. I call her on the phone and if she’s going to be there and if she’s going to be okay,” she said.
Godard dreads the day she may get that horrible phone call.
“I guess you kind of have to emotionally prepare yourself for the fact she could be positive,” Godard said. “I think even before the outbreak, I was wondering what happens if COVID gets in there.”
Hollowell tells FOX8 that Cone Health has even stepped it to provide additional PPE for their staff to make sure everyone could stay safe.
She says she’s proud of her staff for the dedication and bravery they’ve shown to continually care for others.
“We’re told to stay in our houses and hide from this, but we cant,” Hollowell said. “We’ve got people to take care of. These people are our family.”