40% of nursing homes avoid COVID-19 in Acadiana

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EUNICE, La. — (KLFY) For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began the Louisiana Department of Health released full information on the amounts of coronavirus cases and deaths inside each of the state’s nursing homes.

As of Monday, May 18, 31% of confirmed cases in Acadiana are from nursing home residents or staff, and 56% of the region’s deaths are from nursing home residents. 40% of Acadiana’s nursing homes haven’t experienced a single case from a resident or staff member.

Read the latest report here.

In St. Landry Parish over 80% of cases are from nursing home residents or staff. Eunice Manor is the only nursing home in St. Landry which has avoided a single case between residents or staff. Meanwhile, other facilities are almost completely infected

“Thank God. Thank God. I give him all the glory,” said Eunice Manor Nursing Home Administrator Nickie Toups.

Before orders came down for how nursing homes were to operate, she was already making plans for her staff and residents.

“We started our crusade March 9th,” stated Toups. “The first thing I did was any employee that worked at another facility, a hospital, another nursing home, or anywhere else in the community, I immediately laid them off.”

It may sound harsh or extreme, but its purpose is protection. Employees who do work at Eunice Manor Nursing Home are given groceries weekly. Their family’s medication is delivered to work. Everything precaution is taken to limit outside contact.

“We are trying our best to take care of our staff, so our staff is healthy to take care of our house guests,” said Toups.

Region 4 Medical Director Doctor Tina Stefanski said a quarter to a half of COVID-19 cases have no symptoms which is a great concern in nursing homes.

“What’s led us to this point is the role of asymptomatic spread of the infection,” admitted Stefanski. “You can imagine in a nursing home that makes it very difficult to control spread.”

Despite temperature and symptom checks starting every shift, use of face shields and other PPE, as well as other mandatory precautions, coronavirus still found its way into many facilities inside Acadiana, Toups argues it’s not impossible to keep it out.

“No, it’s not. It’s all about the staff and how much knowledge and wisdom you give your staff,” insisted Toups. “And the number one thing I told my staff in the beginning, the only way we’re going to keep COVID out of this building is to keep ourselves well and healthy.”

LDH is working toward testing all the residents and staff in nursing homes weekly, but not every facility has been able to test everyone once. Toups said her facility has given out 16 tests to residents who displayed no symptoms as a precaution, but each came back negative.

As of May 18 in Acadiana, there are 678 COVID-19 cases between residents and staff 101 deaths of residents.

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