16 residents test positive at Craighead Nursing Center

Adequate PPE at Craighead Nursing Center, association says

16 residents test positive at Craighead Nursing Center

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed a total of 18 COVID-19 cases at Craighead Nursing Center, 16 of those from residents.

Data from the ADH shows 11 cases were reported in a single day after they reported only 5 cases among their residents on Monday, June 1.

The new cases come as the ADH confirmed 21 new cases in Craighead County on Tuesday, June 2.

The number of COVID-19 cases there rose from just one positive resident and one positive health care worker on Friday, May 23.

ADH said they provided more guidance to the facility this week and that center will test everyone that resides or works there again.

An Arkansas Health Care Association official said Craighead Nursing Center and many other facilities are working hard to keep residents and employees safe as COVID-19 cases pop up.

"We're definitely dealing in a very difficult and different time," AHCA Executive Director Rachel Bunch said. "Long term care has never been like this."

People shared concerns with Region 8 News about the center, claiming they didn't have enough PPE or that they even had more positive cases than what's being reported.

The department confirmed everyone at Craighead Nursing Center was tested once, a month ago.

“Our policy has been that once a facility has one case, everyone in the facility, both staff and residents, are tested,” ADH Public Information Officer Danyelle McNeill said. “The governor announced last week, however, that in June, universal testing will be implemented for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, meaning testing will happen in all facilities across the state.”

In regards to personal protective equipment, the Arkansas Health Care Association told Region 8 News the center does have an adequate supply.

"It's something that we are working on constantly," Bunch said. "Working with our vendors and working with FEMA. As we get supplies in through our association, we are prioritizing those facilities who have positive cases first."

Leading to high demand across Arkansas sometimes significantly reducing the supply at facilities.

However, Craighead Nursing Center still hasn't run out of PPE.

Bunch said they are using CDC guidance to best determine where that PPE goes.

“Sometimes, it may seem like certain people in the facility get PPE than others. It’s really about those CDC guidelines. Making sure that the affected patients are getting what they need through the workers that are working with them,” Bunch said.

She added the facilities are using consistent assignment when a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed in one of the residents.

That means a team works with them in a specific area of the facility and both may wear a full line of protection, including gowns, gloves, a mask, or even a face shield and goggles.

The residents not immediately at risk of COVID-19 will still have PPE, but just a mask over their face.

Bunch also said if you have a family member near the end of their life at any nursing home, you can work with that company to set up in-person visits during the pandemic.

As you can imagine, they will be very different than previous visits but long-term facilities are working to accommodate, allowing for that personal connection.

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