Last Tuesday morning, March 31, administrators at Camden Nursing Facility, Inc. received word of an employee who’d tested positive for Coronavirus.
According to administrator Eldridge Stewart, the employee was tested on March 18th, when she reportedly left work stating she was not feeling well. The employee was taken to UAB hospital for treatment and has yet to return to Camden Nursing Facility since the day she fell ill. Friends say she is getting better each day, recovering in Birmingham with family by her side.
Just two days later, CNF would learn of three (3) more employees who tested positive. “On April 2, 2020, the facility was notified that three additional employees tested positive for COVID-19,” Stewart said, “They are receiving appropriate medical care and have not worked since exhibiting symptoms.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that all healthcare workers and anyone associated with a long-term healthcare facility should be tested for Coronavirus, along with anyone who is symptomatic with a minimum fever or cough, shortness of breath, or anyone who has been hospitalized.
Stewart says there aren’t enough test kits available to make sure every staff member and resident gets tested at this point in time, a growing issue with many long-term healthcare facilities in rural Alabama.
Alabama Nursing Home Association President & CEO Brandon Farmer says nursing homes throughout the state are hard-struck by the virus, with 31 homes in 17 counties showing symptoms of an outbreak. “These reports involve residents, staff members or both at nursing homes in rural and urban locations, Farmer said, “These nursing homes are following the reporting guidelines and implementing isolation procedures.”
The Wilcox County Health Department helped supplement testing kits to the community last Thursday with a drive-up testing station in the parking lot. Patients were offered testing with a rapid-return kit, not widely available among healthcare facilities. In order to make an appointment, patients first had to screen by a list of symptoms and temperature checks, or present a doctor’s order.
At the time of this writing, thirteen (13) residents of Wilcox County have tested positive out of 48 who have been tested. Most cases reside from Camden, but others have been confirmed in Coy, Boykin, and Alberta as well.
Judging by this metric, Wilcox County’s percentage of positive tests versus the total number of testing is higher than any other county’s in the state.
Dr. Huey Kidd, of Physician’s Care in Camden, says the “best treatment for Coronavirus is prevention.” He strongly encourages people to wear masks out in public. If you can’t find one, there are plenty of tutorials on youtube on how to make them using cloths or bandanas. Dr. Kidd also emphasized that this is “more significant and more deadly than the flu,” and that large parties or gatherings should be avoided.
We knew of 4 employees who had tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday, April 1st.
In a week, we know those numbers have increased. We just don’t know by how much.
CNF Administrators did not want to reveal the total number of employees/residents who that have tested positive for Coronavirus; however, the following media statement was released by Eldridge Stewart on April 6th:
“Camden Nursing Facility, Inc., thanks all its family members and sponsors for being so understanding and cooperative during this difficult time. We are doing our very best to take care of their loved ones. We encourage families to stay in touch with their loved ones through phone calls and video chats. Also, the videos, pictures, cards and letters people have sent have really brightened up our residents’ days! “I’m very appreciative of all the employees of Camden Nursing Facility, Inc., who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our residents receive the care they need. My hat is off this great group of loving caregivers who are true heroes. Please pray that the employees and their families stay safe and that they would have renewed strength to carry on during this most difficult time. Also, pray that God will protect and comfort our residents and their families. “The businesses in and around Camden have been helpful in so many ways with supplies and other items they may have on hand. There have been many individuals that have given gloves, masks and other supplies. I also thank the Wilcox County EMA director for acquiring the much-needed personal protective equipment last week even when things are in such a limited supply. There are too many people and organizations to list by name but that will be coming later. “We continue to screen every employee that enters our building each shift. All residents are screened for symptoms multiple times each day. We have the recommended personal protective equipment in place at this time and we are doing everything in our power to follow the recommended guidelines that CDC, ADPH and our own County Health Department are publishing on a regular basis. We continually read and try to stay up to date with all the latest recommendations and requirements from all our health agencies.”