Contact: Steve Vinson, Senior VP for Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2020
Magnolia Manor COVID-19 update
Magnolia Manor Home Office, Americus, GA, June 3, 2020 –
President and CEO Mark R. Todd reported that there has been only one new resident COVID-19 case at the Americus Nursing Center during the past week.
Currently, the Nursing Center has twenty-eight in-house positive cases. Three residents are in the hospital, and four have recovered.
“I am happy to report that we lost no COVID-19 Americus Nursing Center residents this week,” said Todd. “However, I am sorry to say that a resident at our Columbus East campus has died from the virus.”
Columbus East has reported twenty-six resident cases in the past week after receiving the results from recent testing on that campus. Twenty-three are receiving care in-house, and two are hospitalized.
Meanwhile, the Columbus West campus has reported two new in-house resident cases in the past forty-eight hours, again due to recently completed testing.
Magnolia Manor’s Marion County campus has seen three new cases in the past week due to test results, with two of those reported in the past two days. Thirteen residents are receiving care in-house, and one has passed away.
Other than those reported here, there are no additional known resident cases.
Todd commented, “At the end of the day, testing is the key to stopping this virus. More than half of our residents and staff who have tested positive for the virus have absolutely no symptoms, so they had no idea they were infected.”
“It’s like we’re in a chess game. We think we are really good players. After all, Magnolia Manor has won numerous national quality awards, so our expertise is recognized and validated. We understand infection control, and we are very careful. Thanks to the past three hurricanes, we also have a well-rehearsed emergency plan. Because we had a good plan, we have been several steps ahead of many of our sister organizations in combatting this virus. We have very carefully planned every move to protect our residents and staff and to block COVID-19. And, of course, because we are a faith-based organization, we are praying constantly that we make the right decisions. But it’s like we’re playing against a Chess Grandmaster because no matter what we do, this virus has been one step ahead of us. The good news is that we are learning more about our opponent every day, and we will beat it!”
Todd commented that one major challenge has not yet been overcome: Magnolia Manor’s campuses with positive cases are located in a nationally recognized COVID-19 hot zone centered around Dougherty County.
“Because there are so many cases in the community, each and every one of us must be mindful of social distancing, wearing our masks and washing and sanitizing our hands frequently. How quickly we stop this virus will depend on how soon we realize we have a responsibility to do what we’re supposed to do.”
These steps, along with timely testing of both staff and residents will allow Magnolia Manor to protect residents and staff even before symptoms appear.
“Unfortunately, rapid result testing is not yet widely available,” reported Chief Operating Officer Hill Fort. “We still have to wait a week to ten days for results to come back. Right now, residents at our most vulnerable campuses and about half of our employees have already been tested. The remaining staff will be tested very soon. At the end of the day, everything we do is about caring for our residents and trying to protect them and our staff. That’s why we test, wear PPE, sterilize and quarantine. As we said last week, it’s not fun for anyone, but it is necessary.”
“The people most vulnerable to COVID-19 happen to be our residents—older adults in their 80s and 90s. So, we are doing as much as we are able to protect them.” Todd continued.
Even with expanded testing, in the past week there have been only six new employee cases reported among the more than 1,000 employees working in the two dozen Magnolia Manor programs across nine campuses. Two were at Marion County, two at Columbus East, one at Columbus West and one at the St. Marys campus.
Magnolia Manor has regularly reported that any staff with symptoms are placed on leave until receiving a confirmed negative test report, or they pass a quarantine period. Those testing positive must also be cleared before returning to work. If a resident is identified as testing positive, they are placed in a special quarantine unit on campus designed to protect other residents. Strict infection control protocol is instituted, including the use of full PPE.
Todd indicated that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is as important as testing to halt the spread of COVID-19. Staff wear PPE all day, every day and regularly sanitize their hands and surfaces throughout the day. He said that while Magnolia Manor has a supply of PPE and hand sanitizer, moisture-impervious gowns are hard to find.
“If we do find some, they are incredibly expensive, as is all PPE these days. Prices have skyrocketed in the past three months. For instance, we used to be able to buy a box of N95 masks for five dollars. Now they cost that much for each one! That’s why we are getting as much PPE as we can from FEMA; but even they have limited supplies, so we are purchasing it wherever we can just to make sure we don’t run out.”
Todd confirmed, “Our main and only goal is to protect our residents and staff as we are able. This underpins every choice we make.”
Magnolia Manor continues to follow all guidelines recommended by the CDC, CMS and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Todd said, “We keep saying it, but it bears repeating that while our state and the rest of the country are reopening, we will remain closed for the safety of our residents and staff.”
“Last week we acknowledged that everyone is anxious for us to reopen, but we are still under a government mandated lockdown—now until July 13,” added Fort. “And as we have seen this week, it’s important to move cautiously after that date because new cases can appear without warning. As we said, our decision will be carefully made on a program-by-program basis for each campus. We’d rather be too cautious than wish we’d done more to protect everybody.”
Todd added, “Last week, we reported that we have fewer residents because we halted new admissions when we closed our campuses. Already, this virus has cost us more than $3.5 million. That’s one reason we have talked about the need for donations—whether they are in-kind or cash gifts.”
Magnolia Manor is a 501(c)(3) faith-based nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Headquartered in Americus, Georgia, Magnolia Manor is a faith-based, tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization affiliated by covenant with the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Magnolia Manor was established in 1959 and employs almost 1,000 staff who serve about 1,500 senior adults daily throughout South Georgia. Services at our nine locations are open to all persons, regardless of denominational affiliation. We provide various levels of care, including Independent Living, Catered Care, Personal Care, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitative Therapy and specialized Memory Care.
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