UPDATE: April 27
HIAWASSEE, Ga – On April 27, Georgia Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility reported revealed a Chatuge Regional Nursing Home employee tested reported tested positive for COVID-19.
Previously, Community Health listed a resident of the nursing home as positive for COVID-19, bringing the facility total up to two.
Union County Nursing Home also has two confirmed cases – one patient and one employee.
Original Story Below
HIAWASSEE, Ga -The Georgia Department of Community Health reported that one Chatuge Regional Nursing Home resident has tested positive for COVID-19 on April 24.
As of April 24, no nursing home employees are listed as positive for COVID-19. However, an employee at Union County Nursing Home Regional was confirmed as positive on April 23.
Chatuge Regional is home to 108 residents. Union County Nursing Home accommodates 138 residents according to community health.
Union General Health System (UGHS) now has two confirmed employee cases since April 10 – one in Towns and one in Union. The health system’s policy doesn’t allow them to discuss employee or patient matters.
Both facilities previously closed the buildings to visitors and limited meals to in-room dining. UGHS has assured Fetch Your News multiple times that the system follows all CDC protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents in both nursing homes are considered high-risk by the CDC and W.H.O. Several long-term care facilities across the country have been ravaged by COVID-19 including ones in Athens and Macon, Ga.
The CDC website stated that older patients may not exhibit typical COVID-19 symptoms, “such as fever or respiratory symptoms. Atypical symptoms may include new or worsening malaise, new dizziness, or diarrhea. Identification of these symptoms should prompt isolation and further evaluation for COVID-19.”
The National Guard first visited Union County Nursing Home on April 22 to begin cleaning out the facility and will continue to clean out health system buildings this weekend.
Once COVID-19 enters a facility, the CDC guidelines recommend “restricting all residents to their rooms and having HCP wear all recommended PPE for care of all residents (regardless of symptoms) on the affected unit (or facility-wide depending on the situation). This includes: an N95 or higher-level respirator (or facemask if a respirator is not available), eye protection, gloves, and gown. HCP should be trained on PPE use including putting it on and taking it off.”
With the high risk of unrecognized infection among residents, everyone in the facility must follow the outlined measures. Experience with the virus suggests that a “substantial proportion of residents could have COVID-19 without reporting symptoms or before symptoms develop.”
Facilities also are recommended to have a separate area to care for patients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19. Ill residents must be checked at least three times daily to quickly determine if the level of care must be escalated.
Public health can assist in making decisions about testing asymptomatic residents.
Neighboring facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases
The Blue Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care facility has two employees who tested positive for COVID-19.
Pruitt Health Blue Ridge has one positive patient.
Dahlonega Assisted Living and Memory Care has one positive employee.
Please keep all these individuals and residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your thoughts and prayers are this time.