Employees at DeKalb assisted living community find success in battling coronavirus by moving in

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — The coronavirus has now taken the lives of more than 630 people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state. Those are the latest numbers from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon found a facility in DeKalb County that’s going to extreme lengths to keep the virus out.

Instead of serving as the maid of honor at her sister’s wedding, Nadia Williams watched it over a live video stream.

“It was emotional,” Williams said. “When I saw her on screen and getting married, I felt, I was definitely very heartbroken.”

That’s because she’s one of the employees at Park Springs Life Plan Community in Stone Mountain who have sacrificed their personal lives to help save the lives of their residents.

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“It’s just been really rewarding. I feel very humbled to be here,” Williams told Wilfon.

She’s one of about 70 employees who agreed to move into Park Springs and stay there 24/7 to make sure the coronavirus stays out. Even the facility’s chief operating officer moved in.

“Some of us brought tents, some of us brought mattresses,” Park Springs COO Donna Moore said. “I think the hard part was realizing that they were putting their personal lives on hold, their families and their commitments outside our campus."

After several weeks, some of the employees did cycle in and out, but management said new ones coming in were tested for the virus.

“We’re doing it together and we really pump each other up,” Moore said.

The staff members help care for more than 500 residents at Park Springs’ independent living, nursing, and rehab facilities. And so far, they can call their sacrifice to keep all of them healthy a success.

“The experience as a whole will be something that I will never forget,” Williams said.

Management knows they can’t keep doing things this way forever, but it’s likely they will keep doing this at least into June.