COVID-19 cases at Dothan nursing home jump to 31 within a week

Coronavirus

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Wesley Place on Honeysuckle has experience a jump in its active COVID-19 cases within a week.

On June 30, the facility reported a total of 16 cases among its associates and nursing home residents.

Seven days later, Wesley Place sent out a letter to residents, their family, and associates saying the number of active cases rose to 31.

“As you are aware, despite all of our efforts, the increase of COVID-19 cases in the surrounding area has resulted in the introduction of the virus to our campus,” the letter states. “This is certainly what we have fought so very hard to avoid, but at the same time, had made plans for handling positive cases within the community. Although the vast majority of nursing communities in Alabama have fought or are now fighting this virus, including those in our own area, it is a very trying experience for residents, families, and staff members.”

According to the letter, almost all of the known cases are from the facility’s South 1 Neighborhood, which was exposed to COVID-19 by an at least one associate.

Here are the numbers found in the letter, dated July 7.

Active Positive CasesCumulative Number of Cases
Associates1014
Assisted Living00
SCALF00
Nursing2124
Total3138

Most of the residents are asymptomatic, and the cases have been isolated in the Martin Wing to stem the spread of the virus among residents. Associates who contracted the virus will not be able to work until they meet the criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Testing will continue at the home until no more positive cases are found for two weeks. Associates will also be tested every two weeks until conditions change.

“We are also continuing our mitigation strategy of full PPE across the entire community, which includes N95 masks, isolation gowns, goggle and gloves, out of an abundance of caution,” the letter states. “Further, the areas where positive residents were identified have been professionally disinfected by an outside contractor.”

After we contacted executive director Dan March about the letter, he confirmed the information as accurate. Per the following statement given to WDHN Wednesday, Wesley Place on Honeysuckle has cared for 18 residents with COVID-19:

As a full service retirement community, Wesley Place on Honeysuckle oversees the housing and health services of 200 residents in five distinct levels of care, and employs just over 200 staff members. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have maintained regular contact with the Houston County Health Department, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Nursing Home Association, and have sought and received exceptional guidance and assistance throughout this difficult time. Additionally, we constantly monitor the guidance issued by CMS, the CDC and numerous trade associations. The health and safety of our residents is our top priority, and we are literally working non-stop to achieve this goal. To this end, throughout the pandemic, we have implemented and maintained infection control systems based on this guidance. Our systems have been reviewed on site by federal regulators who found them to be fully compliant. 

Wesley Place on Honeysuckle has been caring for eighteen residents with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.  Multiple asymptomatic employees have also been found to be positive by our house-wide testing procedures. Most of the residents are also asymptomatic, and all are receiving appropriate care in an isolated care unit.

We notified the Houston County Health Department, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have also informed all our residents and their families and our staff members. In addition to being fully transparent with them, we are asking for the understanding and patience of the families with loved ones in our care as we do our very best to ensure the well-being of our residents.

In other news, the facility has tried to make live as normal as possible for residents. Their beauty shop is operational and visitation has returned for assisted living residents on the front porch of the Sun Room.

They also got to celebrate Independence Day with burgers and hot dogs Friday.

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