RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health reported just two active COVID-19 cases among residents at the Randolph County Nursing Home two weeks ago. Now, that number has risen to 49 per the Arkansas Health Care Association.
Region 8 News met with the family of 103-year-old Marie Lindsey, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 according to her family. After the positive result, everybody is concerned.
“It just feels like all of her rights are being taken away from her and there’s no one to speak up for her,” Granddaughter Pam Sharp said.
Sharp and her cousin, Sherri Strange, just want to be able to see their grandmother.
“She has pneumonia, now she’s COVID-positive,” Sherri said. “She should get to see one family member, maybe, to say goodbye to. That’s an [awfully] long life to leave it alone.”
The nursing home, following federal mandates in addition to the Arkansas Health Care Association rules, hasn’t allowed visitors due to the rise in COVID cases in their facilities. Visitors can still FaceTime residents and visit outside their windows.
“It’s heartbreaking that we can’t go in there and comfort them or anything,” Sharp said. “It’s like they are being punished for this disease.”
Both Sherri and Sharp, the latter a former nursing home worker of 18 years, say they understand that it’s not the facility’s fault and that they are just doing their part to keep everyone safe.
But, they are concerned for their grandmother, not only after testing positive for COVID but now having to move and be treated in the facility’s specific COVID unit.
AHCA Executive Director Rachel Bunch says it’s heartbreaking to see families separated from each other and they are looking forward to the day when families can reunite, but right now, there’s no other way to do that.
“Nothing replaces an in-person visit, we understand that it’s not the same, and I wish that there was something different that we can do,” Bunch said. “With the federal restrictions right now, there’s not. Trying to balance the social well-being of our residents with health and safety is so difficult and it’s so hard to make that call and try to draw those lines.”
Bunch added that the facility is doing everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Like many in the state, the Randolph County Nursing Home has COVID units for affected patients while checking vitals on patients every eight hours.
She says the good news is that she has seen other facilities like Randolph County that have struggled with COVID cases, fully recover.
Here are the current numbers for the Randolph County Nursing Home, as of Wednesday, August 5:
- 59 residents have tested positive.
- 10 have recovered.
- Currently, there are 124 total residents in the facility (according to Bunch, a “handful” have been hospitalized).
- 25 employees out of 217 total employees at the facility (11.5%) have tested positive.
- 11 have recovered.