Nursing home stats show some rural facilities hit hard in SWGA

COVID-19 hits SWGA nursing homes hard

(WALB) - COVID-19 numbers from the state show some troubling statistics when it comes to nursing homes.

WALB analyzed the most recent COVID-19 numbers in Georgia long-term care facilities compared to the number of cases and deaths in the county each facility is located in.

In WALB's coverage area, there are 12 long-term care facilities that have recorded 30 or more residents who have tested positive.

*This data is based on the 7 p.m. Wednesday updates from the Department of Community Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Several of those facilities are in rural counties, and the number of resident deaths in the facility accounts for more than half of the total people who have died from COVID-19 in that county.

In Turner County, according to the Department of Community Health (DCH)'s long-term care facility numbers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, PruittHealth Ashburn nursing home had 37 residents test positive so far. Twelve of those residents have died.

According to the Department of Public Health (DPH)'s county numbers at the same time, Turner County had 80 cases total and 12 deaths total.

Depending on whether there are discrepancies in whether the address of each nursing home resident that died was counted as Turner County, those numbers make it appear that all of that county's deaths have been PruittHealth Ashburn residents.

In Wilcox County, Crossview Care Center nursing home in Pineview has had 53 residents test positive and 10 have died.

DCH and DPH numbers from Wednesday at 7 p.m. seem to show that Crossview Care Center accounts for 53.5 percent of Wilcox County's cases altogether (99 total cases) and 83.3 percent of the county's deaths (12 total deaths).

In hard-hit Randolph County, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the state of Georgia, Joe-Anne Burgin Nursing Home has recorded 55 positive resident cases and 15 resident deaths.

Out of the county's 21 deaths total, the deaths of residents at the nursing home make up 71 percent.

Brian Lee is the executive director of Families for Better Care, which he describes as a national nursing home and long-term care facility watchdog organization.

Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care.
Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care. (Source: WALB)

Lee said because these facilities are not allowing visitors in order to contain COVID-19, it’s tough thinking about what each individual who has died in a nursing home has had to go through alone.

“We all kind of have this vision of our last moments, being surrounded by people we love the most and saying goodbye to them,” Lee said. “Being in a nursing home where families are restricted from seeing their loved ones as they leave this earth and pass to the next life, it’s heartbreaking.”

Gov. Brian Kemp said the Georgia National Guard is working to test every single resident and staff member at every nursing home and long-term care facility in the state.

Kemp said that as of Tuesday, long-term care facility residents made up almost half of the entire state of Georgia's COVID-19 deaths.

As of Wednesday night, Albany's PruittHealth Palmyra nursing home had the highest number of residents with COVID-19 in the state.

Some 123 residents there have tested positive, according to DCH.

PruittHealth Palmyra is one of four Georgia long-term care facilities with more than 100 positive residents.

Twenty-one residents in that facility have died, which is the second highest number of deaths among long-term care facilities in the state.

Other facilities whose deaths appear to make up a majority of the county's deaths as of 7 p.m. Wednesday:

  • Dawson Health and Rehabilitation (15 resident deaths out of 24 total deaths in Terrell County)
  • Early Memorial Nursing Facility (18 resident deaths out of 29 total deaths in Early County)
  • Pioneer Health of Central Georgia (Nine resident deaths out of 12 total deaths in Dooly County)
  • PruittHealth Sylvester (10 resident deaths out of 18 total deaths in Worth County)
  • Vista Park Health and Rehabilitation (Eight resident deaths out of 11 total deaths in Coffee County)

Editor’s note: It is not clear whether every single long-term care facility resident counted by DCH is counted by DPH as a resident in the county the facility is in.

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