Statewide cases top 2,000: Nursing home reports first case

Published 9:27 pm Monday, April 6, 2020

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A resident at a Troy nursing home facility has tested positive for COVID-19.

Troy Health and Rehabilitation was notified on April 6, that a resident had tested positive, according to a statement released on Monday. The resident is receiving medical care.

Officials said in the statement that they had notified the Pike County Health Department, Houston County Health Department, and the Alabama Department of Public Health. All residents, families and staff members also were notified.

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“For several weeks, Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center has restricted visitation and implemented infection control protocols in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The health and safety of our residents and staff is our top priority,” the release states.

“We are asking for the understanding and patience of the families with loved ones in our care as we do our very best to ensure the well-being of our residents.”

Warren Kelly, executive director of TH&R, said the facility also tested two other patients for COVID-19 and those results were negative. “Since this began, we’ve probably tested eight to 10 employees, as well, and all those tests have come back negative,” Kelly said.

He said a rehabilitation hall at the Troy facility had previously been converted to a nine-bed isolation unit, in preparation for handling any potential COVID-19 cases. The facility had 149 residents as of Monday.

As of 5 p.m. the Alabama Department of Public Health reports a total of 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pike County; 2,006 cases statewide; and 53 reported deaths from the disease, none in Pike County.

Herb Reeves, director of the Pike County EMA, said because of the lag in the ADPH reporting process, he could not confirm if those totals included the Troy Health and Rehab resident.

Troy Health and Rehab is just one of several nursing homes statewide dealing with COVID-19 cases.

“Alabama nursing homes continue to do everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat those who are diagnosed with the virus,” said Brandon Farmer, president and CEO of the Alabama Nursing Home Association. “As of today, 31 of our member nursing homes in 17 counties have reported COVID-19 positive cases to the Alabama Nursing Home Association. These reports involve residents, staff members or both at nursing homes in rural and urban locations. These nursing homes are following the reporting guidelines and implementing isolation procedures.

“I predict the number of nursing homes with cases will grow as more tests are administered and the results are returned. As previously stated, the delays in receiving test kits and test results are beyond our control yet places our residents and employees at great risk.

“Our members have taken the threat of COVID-19 seriously from the start. Most restricted or stopped visitation and began screening employees before state and federal government agencies required it. They continue to practice infection control guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and isolate residents who test positive or are believed to have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive. Like other health care providers, nursing homes need a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Infection control measures will only be as effective as our ability to secure PPE.”