Nursing homes respond to possible spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of Thanksgiving


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Nursing homes across the state are taking action now to avoid a COVID-19 cases as a result of Thanksgiving.

It is a concern many health experts have had since the pandemic began: outbreaks in nursing homes, specifically during the holidays.

“Bringing them to your home may be a detriment to their health,” said Dr. Jose Romero, Secretary of Arkansas Department of Health.

For weeks, Dr. Romero has warned families against taking their loved ones out of nursing homes for the holidays.

“It’s really an individual family decision, we have some families who are choosing to take residents out of the facility for the holidays,” said Rachel Bunch, Executive Director of Arkansas Health Care Association. “We’re hoping we don’t see an increase after Thanksgiving.”

Bunch said most residents stayed in the facilities over Thanksgiving. However, precautions are in place for those who did choose to spend it with their families.

“The recommendation from the Department of Health suggests to quarantine that person for 14 days in a private room,” she said.

Bunch said nursing homes are also working to make sure staffing does not become a problem.

“We’ll have nurses or people who were asymptomatic but positive and only knew they had the virus because of testing done at the facility- they can come in and work just to staff those Covid units and work with those patients,” she said.

Bunch said testing has also already been a priority within the nursing homes so not much will change after Thanksgiving. The nursing homes typically test residents once or twice a week depending on the county positivity rate of the facility.

No matter the guidelines in place, Dr. Romero encourages Arkansans to keep prioritizing their loved ones right now as this virus continues to be fought.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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