Triad nursing homes taking steps to protect residents during coronavirus outbreak

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Federal and state health officials say anyone aged 65 or older is at a higher risk to contract the coronavirus, especially those who live in nursing homes or retirement communities.

Now, Triad facilities are doing their best to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Before people even try to walk in the doors at the White Oak at Burlington Nursing Home, they’re greeted by bright red and white signs.

“We’ve had our signs on our doors asking people if they’re sick, to reschedule their visits,” said Michele Riordan, the administrator.

There’s also a hand sanitizing station in the lobby, complete with masks and tissues.

“We’re just trying to do the best thing we’ve can,” Riordan said. “We’ve got a very vulnerable population and we want to make sure they’re safe and no one is bringing anything in.”

Riordan says that includes canceling activities and volunteer group visits.

It even means keeping a barrier between families.

“Some of us have iPhones and are willing to do FaceTime and things like that. [Families] certainly can call and check on their loved ones. We realize how difficult it is for them,” she said. “We’re just trying to keep their loved ones as safe as we possibly can.”

The Burlington facility joins others, all across the Triad, in tightening up procedures and protocols.

A representative with The Well-Spring retirement community in Greensboro tells FOX8 they’ve questioned guests on their recent travels and how they’re feeling before letting them into the complex.

A spokesperson for the management company said they’ve also suspended work by external contractors and have canceled events.

It’s a shared goal across the Piedmont: keeping seniors safe from the coronavirus.

“We don’t know where it is right now. It’s got a very long incubation period,” Riordan said. “We just want everybody to be safe, so we feel like this is the best thing.”

It’s not just nursing homes and retirement communities making these adjustments.

Local hospital and medical systems, like Cone Health, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, have expanded their visitor restrictions to only necessary visits from immediate family members.

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