MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama state officials say they have ramped up testing when it comes to long term care facilities, adding that the state is still not ready for nursing home visitors.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on Alabama’s nursing homes.
“It has turned out to be something that is very serious for nursing homes as well as society as a whole,” said John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association.
Nursing homes around the state provide care to about 25,000 people. There are 231 nursing homes with at least one in each county and there are about 31,00 employees statewide.
“Nursing homes across this country, both the state veteran’s home and private nursing homes. This is a very, very difficult situation for them. again, it’s a high-risk population a very dense population,” said Alabama Department Veteran Affairs Commissioner Ken Davis.
For most people living in long term care facilitates, they can’t leave. So how are they contracting COVID-19?
“COVID could have entered the doors through visitation before then and, of course, now you have staff members that come in there to work and were pp but we also have to remember they have responsibilities at home. and so when they leave that nursing home, they’ve got to go buy groceries for their family,” said Matson.
Both veterans’ homes and private nursing homes are taking an aggressive approach to keep their people safe.
Their new policy requires wearing a mask, screening employees, social distancing and moving towards the goal of testing in all facilities.
“These are people who have served their country, going back to world war two some have given a lot for this country, some suffered disabilities. It is painful for everybody to see this insidious disease affecting them,” said Davis.
As for when nursing homes could reopen in Alabama, that will likely happen during the third phase of the reopening plan.