Concerns grow over coronavirus in Mississippi nursing homes

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There are more than 720 cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities in Mississippi. Those we talked to with loved ones in the homes believe there’s not enough transparency. There was a breakthrough on Tuesday when the state health officer announced more testing in those facilities.

Clara Williams’ mother tested positive for the coronavirus at Lexington Manor Senior Care. She wants to know how her mother contracted the virus when the nursing home is on lockdown.

“Whoever over this facility, are you going to get all your workers tested?”

After repeated attempts Lexington Manor would not get back to us.

12 News asked the govenor and state health officer about the testing, and we got answers.

“So starting this week it is our expectation that if we have any cases in a long term care setting including nursing homes that all the employees and the residents get tested,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer.

At Woodlands Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Clinton, Annie Ricks’ daughter, 50-year-old Melinda Martin has multiple sclerosis, is wheelchair bound, and now COVID-19. She says her daughter has lost weight, needs to be treated at the hospital for the coronavirus, and then moved to another long term care home. The problem, she says, it’s hard to find one that will accept a motorized wheelchair.

“People are dying from COVID and two days later they dead,” said Ricks.

Sometimes Martin’s phone is out of reach for her to call her mother. A spokesperson for Woodlands Rehabilitation says their health care workers give compassionate and responsible care to everyone who lives there. They will look into whether they can arrange for easier access to her phone.

As I followed down leads, the next one took me to Canton.

No one wanted to go on camera at Canton Manor, but a source told me four residents tested positve for COVID-19 and two workers.

We’re also told Canton Manor has enough PPE, and that the facility is taking measures for safety like temperature checks.

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The following information is from Joe Gimenez, spokesperson of Nexion Health, the parent of Woodlands Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.

“This is a very challenging time and we are confident in our healthcare workers’ heroic efforts to provide compassionate, responsible care to all our residents.

We will look into whether we can arrange for our resident’s easier access to her phone.

With regards to the current situation, we can confirm that:

·        122 residents have been tested

  • 87 have tested negative
  • 35 have tested positive

The Center is currently closed to visitors, including family members, but our staff has been providing options for families to communicate with their loved ones and maintaining very effective communication policies:

·         We are enabling and encouraging telephone and computer conversations with family.

·         We are striving to update all residents’ designated contacts on a regular basis.

·         When a significant deterioration or decline occurs in a resident’s health, our standard procedure is to notify the contact person or guardian who the family had specifically identified.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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