ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News learned there has been a new breakout of COVID-19 at a Buckhead nursing home.
Nearly 30 people are now sick, after seven residents with the virus died at the facility in an earlier outbreak, according to numbers provided by the state.
Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon spoke with two families who have loved ones impacted by the outbreak who say they are concerned with what’s happened at the William Breman Jewish Home.
One woman who Wilfon spoke with said the virus took her mother’s life.
“Basically, in shock about it,” is how Anne Bender said she feels after learning her mother died of the coronavirus at William Breman. “My mother and I were very close, and (I’m) still grieving. It’s very difficult to get over.”
According to the latest numbers from the state, Anne Bender’s mother — Luella Bender — is one of seven people to die of complications of the virus in the nursing home.
“My reaction to that is shut them down. That’s my reaction to it. I think it’s disgusting,” Anne Bender said.
A William Breman spokesperson told Wilfon that the virus sickened only a dozen residents at the facility over many months until recently.
A new, larger outbreak has now led to nearly 30 residents and eight staff members to test positive.
“My understanding, too, is that it came from an employee that had it,” Bender said. “How careful could they have been?”
The CEO of William Breman said facility staff members were careful. In a statement, he said, “We have been vigilant about our infection control practices. However, even the strictest protocols do not make one immune.”
Wilfon also spoke with Deepa Jain. Her mother still lives at William Breman.
“Quite honestly, I’m extremely stressed as any son or daughter would be,” Jain said.
She’s worried her mother may catch the virus too.
“So are you considering pulling her out?” Wilfon asked Jain.
“Truthfully, yes,” Jain said.
She believes the home has poor ventilation and said some staff members don’t follow “common sense” protocols. She said she saw an image showing a nurse giving her mother medication without wearing gloves.
“I’ve seen some things where it’s painful to watch, quite honestly. Truly painful, and I’m not saying that to be dramatic,” Jain said.
But she told Wilfon that she’s seen other staff members do a wonderful job.
In his statement, William Breman’s CEO said: “We will continue to do everything possible to contain the spread, and we are hopeful that our residents and staff impacted by the virus will recover quickly.”
Jain hopes they can contain it quickly. Her mother battles late-stage Parkinson’s disease, but she’s afraid her mother wouldn’t win a battle with COVID-19.
“If she does get infected, there is no recovery,” Jain said.
Across the state, nearly 2,600 nursing or care home residents have now died of the coronavirus. More than 500 of those people have died in just the past two months.
Here is the full statement from the CEO of the William Breman Jewish Home:
“The William Breman Jewish Home has strictly followed all CMS, CDC, and state and local health department guidelines and recommendations throughout the pandemic. We have been vigilant about our infection control practices, and in June received a deficiency-free COVID-19 CMS Survey Inspection by the state of Georgia.
"However, even the strictest protocols do not make one immune. Once COVID enters the environment, it can spread quickly before even the first symptom is identified. As a nursing home, we must always balance critical infection prevention protocols with our employee’s own personal lives, with a hospital’s need to release rehab patients regardless of COVID status, and our residents' psycho-social needs of seeing their loved ones.
"It is very unfortunate that despite our extraordinary diligence in obtaining and using proper PPE, cleaning practices, employee training, liberal PCR-based testing and aggressive contact tracing, that COVID was still able to enter our building. It saddens all of us that our residents are once again unable to visit with their families and enjoy the camaraderie of their friends and neighbors because this virus spreads so rapidly, and our efforts to contain the spread were not quick enough.
"We will continue to do everything possible to contain the spread, and we are hopeful that our residents and staff impacted by the virus will recover quickly.”
- Harley Tabak, Jewish HomeLife President & CEO
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