Contact: Steve Vinson, Senior VP for Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2020
Magnolia Manor COVID-19 update
Magnolia Manor Home Office, Americus, GA, May 27, 2020 –President and CEO Mark R. Todd reported that there have been four new COVID-19 cases at the Americus Nursing Center in the past week, three of which were confirmed in the past twenty-four hours. That compares to four new cases in the prior week, and ten new cases the week before that.
Chief Operating Officer Hill Fort said, “This virus has proven to be amazingly resilient. Every time we think we have it under control, it surprises us again.”
Currently, the Nursing Center has twenty-six in-house positive cases. Two residents are in the hospital. Four residents have recovered.
“Sadly, we must report that two additional residents were not able to survive COVID-19,” said Todd.
Todd commented that testing has proven to be the key to keeping the virus under control because it allows Magnolia Manor to isolate residents and staff even before symptoms appear.
Following previous tests at the Americus Nursing Center and the Marion County campus, last week 86 residents and 68 employees at the Midway campus were also tested. There were no COVID-19 cases found. In addition, 111 residents and 47 staff from the Columbus-West building were tested. Results are pending. Testing for the remaining staff and residents of Columbus-West will be completed this week.
Tests have shown that Magnolia Manor of Marion County in Buena Vista now has nine in-house COVID-19 confirmed positives. One resident who tested positive is hospitalized.
“We are sorry to report that one resident has also died from our Marion County campus,” said Todd.
There are no residents known to have positive tests for COVID-19 at any other campus.
Five employees testing positive when the National Guard was at the Americus Nursing Center two weeks ago never developed symptoms and have now returned to work.
Of the two dozen programs operated on nine Magnolia Manor campuses, only the Americus Nursing and Retirement Centers, Columbus Nursing Center, St. Simons Island Nursing Center and the Marion County campus have employees who have tested positive for the virus.
“Any staff reporting symptoms are placed on leave until receiving a confirmed negative test report, or pass a two-week quarantine,” 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. In addition, Todd reported that the organization has implemented new procedures in the battle against COVID-19. They have purchased fogging machines and portable UV sterilizing lights for each campus to aid the disinfection process. Also, Parker’s Heating and Air Conditioning has installed UV sterilizing lights in the HVAC systems at the Americus and Marion County Nursing Centers to add additional protection to the central heating and air systems where positive cases have been reported.
Magnolia Manor has been closed to visitors since mid-March, and Governor Kemp has ordered medically fragile and elderly Georgians to shelter in place through June 12. Todd said, “While our state and the rest of the country are reopening, we remain closed for the safety of our residents and staff.”
“Nothing will change about reopening our doors until at least a couple of weeks after June 13 when we see what the governor recommends,” added Fort. “We recognize our residents and their families are anxious for us to reopen, and we realize we are being prescriptive. But we’d rather be too cautious than wish we’d done more.”
“We are creating a plan for the day when we will be able to accept new admissions for our Assisted and Independent Living programs, as well as opening our campuses to visitors,” reported Todd. “It’s too early to talk about reopening our nursing centers, but we are thinking about it.”
“Admissions will be on a case-by-case and campus-by-campus basis with new protocols to help guard against infection.”
“We will move carefully because we want to make sure we have additional staffing. This pandemic has significantly impacted our ability to retain and recruit staff. One of our programs has eighteen fewer staff today than before this crisis. Some were primary caregivers for children or older adults, so they chose to resign. Some were afraid of the risks when our first case of COVID-19 appeared, so they quit. Others became ill and never returned to work. And still others resigned because of the physical and emotional strain caused by this virus. Regardless of the reason, staffing will be a key factor in the timing of our reopening.”
The organization is actively recruiting new employees. Added to the usual testing, training, background checks and drug screening requirements is testing for COVID-19.
Todd added, “Meanwhile, we currently have fewer residents than we did before COVID-19 because we have not been accepting new admissions. As you can imagine, the impact on our budget has been huge because there is no specific end in sight. 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.
Fort added that when new admissions are accepted in the future, they would be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of move-in. They would also be screened again at admission for any new signs of infection.
Magnolia Manor is also creating disinfection procedures for all of the admissions’ possessions and will likely limit new residents to only essential items initially.
At the same time, the organization will allow limited access and visitation to residents’ responsible parties with specific set and scheduled visitation hours. Visitors, like residents and staff, will be screened for signs of infection.
When a campus opens will be determined individually. The decision will be based on the surrounding community environment, staffing, admission needs, and the campus health environment.
“Facility openings will be on a limited, controlled basis,” said Todd. “It’s hard to develop a plan when the rules and recommendations change almost daily, but we will continue to move along as long as COVID-19 allows us to move along. At any moment all of our plans could go out the window and we will have to adjust!”
Fort added, “Of course, any new outbreaks will change the dynamics for the decisions we make moving forward.”
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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