A media Zoom meeting was held on April 22, 2020 for our media partners and community. A list of questions was presented to our staff by the media.
Our panel consisted of:
Shawn Crabtree, Executive Director
Dr. Christine Weyman, Medical Director
Stuart Spillman, Environmental Health Director
Laura Woodrum, Director of Nursing
Amy Tomlinson, PH Preparedness Manager
Tracy Aaron, Health Education Director – moderator
There has been a lot of attention paid to cases in nursing homes. While demographic information is not being released on individual cases, can you say if there are any positive cases among nursing home residents?
If there is a positive case in a LTC facility we allow the facility to release the information. However, the facility does notify all family members/guardians of those impacted.
What steps are being taken for long term care facilities, and other similar facilities, to contain the spread?
All LTC facilities have been provided guidance and support from the district Health Department.
With the new free testing offered in Pulaski County being limited in scope, do you foresee a future expansion of the program? Also, do you expect to see the number of confirmed rise due to the increased number of tests being taken?
As more tests become available more testing will be done especially when the lockdown is lifted so we can do contact tracing and isolate those who are infected.The criteria for testing may also be loosened and possibly asymptomatic people will be tested. If we test we shall find positive cases- in some accounts 25-50% of those who tested positive were asymptomatic.
With the increased numbers of positive cases in nursing homes, is there a plan to require testing at all facilities, and if not, at what point are all residents and employees tested.
Each nursing home decides if they want to test everyone or just symptomatic individuals. There are no specific recommendations from the CDC. Both strategies have benefits and failings Testing all residents and employees is one strategy for managing an outbreak in nursing homes; however, it provides only one point in time and for it to be of use testing of those who are negative needs to continue every few days. Positive patients need to be isolated in specified COVID wings. Currently staff are using facemasks and gloves in all nursing homes, whether they have cases or not. LCDHD has provided calls and guidance to all long term care facilities in our 10 county area according to CDC guidance for LTC facilities.
Shawn, Where are the COVID-19 patients being treated at area hospitals? Several area hospitals are treating positive COVID-19 cases
I know it’s late but I have a general question I really wish someone would answer for me. The governor’s “Healthy at Work” plan calls for businesses to have ample PPE. We are all having difficulty getting antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer because everything is reserved for first responders. Do they (first responders) now have an ample supply and will these products be opened up for businesses to purchase in the near future? Otherwise, businesses will not be able to reach the benchmarks required.
PPE and sanitizing materials remain in shorter supply than necessary. We are uncertain exactly how this barrier will be overcome.