Cases rising in Louisiana nursing homes during third surge

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 8:51 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) -The number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes is on the rise according to the latest report from the White House. Cases among residents and staff are up, unfortunately, more people are dying because of it the report indicates.

“Our staff gets tested twice a week. Residents are still in their rooms, wearing masks, staying six feet apart, we’re following all the guidelines we can possibly do to keep them safe. Every day when my staff comes in all we think about is taking care of the residents, making sure they’re safe, making sure we don’t bring something into them,” said Jennifer Bercegay, Director of the Gonzales Health Center.

Caught up in the restrictions are seniors like Betty Hemphill and Pearl Poche. They have been cooped up at the Gonzales Health Center since March. At one time they were allowed some relaxed visitation but as cases continue to rise, restrictions became tighter. Now residents are only allowed a brief 30-minute visitation outside with one or two family members once a week. Other than that, they are forced to see friends and family members either through their window or over a video call.

“I miss my kids,” Poche said. When you can’t see your kids it’s rough, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”

The promise of a vaccine has provided hope among the residents said Bercegay. The details on how and when it will be available though are still in the works as information has been limited from the state on when the first doses will be distributed.

Healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against Covid are set to receive the first batch, nursing homes get second priority.

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