THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — More than a week after two people were found dead and two others in critical condition at Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, Thomasville city officials are offering few comments as the investigation continues.
“The city council and I are very concerned with conditions present at Pine Ridge as stated in the press release from the police department,” said Mayor Raleigh York. “However, I feel it would be premature for me to make any further comment until after the ongoing investigation has been completed.”
City council members Doug Hunt and Wendy Sellers were similarly reserved, but they say they’re offering their prayers to residents and families.
“Unfortunately, this is an ongoing investigation by all concerned departments and associations,” Hunt said. “I would not be able to provide you any information other than what the city manager and our PD can offer. I will say I pray for all individuals and families affected by this ordeal. We owe the families and tenants of Pine Ridge a sound investigation, and that is what our PD will provide.”
Sellers said, “I will say that my heart and prayers go out to the residents and families affected by this negligence. No one should have to experience a situation like this. Families place their loved ones in these care facilities expecting their family members to be cared for. This is unacceptable and I am sure the investigation that is underway by the city, county and state will ensure this never happens again.”
Thomasville City Manager Michael Brandt shared his appreciation for the emergency teams who jumped in to help despite snowy and icy conditions.
“The city provided emergency services to the facility on Sunday, and I am proud of the all of the staff from our police and fire departments, along with other county and state agencies that responded in a timely manner, during a significant winter weather event, to provide medical care to the residents of the facility,” Brandt said. “As anyone would be upon hearing about the situation, I am concerned by what appears to have happened at the center. But … the city does not have regulatory oversight of rehabilitation centers, they are regulated through the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
The center has been the focus of an investigation after Thomasville police found two residents deceased and two others in critical conditions during a staffing shortage Sunday evening.
Police found three staff members caring for 98 patients during the weekend snowstorm.
Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation reportedly told Thomasville police the staffing shortage was the result of staffers not being able to get to the site due to the poor road conditions.
At the request of the Davidson County District Attorney, NCDHHS workers were called to the scene, along with North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation workers, to assists with the situation.
State House Representative Larry Potts, who represents District 81, told FOX8 that the on-site portion of the investigations wrapped up Friday afternoon.
Over the next few weeks, the NCDHHS will present their findings to a Joint House Oversite Committee that Potts is on.
“Get the gist of what happened, how it happened and what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Rep. Potts said.
He could not comment on any charges that may or may not come.
However, when asked about what could happen next he said, “I believe we’re to the point where they will be held accountable. That’s an understatement.”