COVID-19 outbreak at Fayetteville veterans nursing home
Posted May 25, 2020 9:30 p.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2020 1:21 p.m. EDT
Fayetteville, N.C. — Dozens of COVID-19 cases and two deaths are being reported at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville.
Cumberland County health officials have confirmed 36 cases at the nursing home, which is up from 19 cases just this past Thursday.
"I think they let their guard down," said Linda Hillman, whose father was one of the residents at the facility to get the coronavirus. "I think they felt like all the other rest homes were getting it, no one was getting it here."
Hillman's father is retired Sgt. Maj. Bill Briggs who served three tours in the Vietnam War. He is suffering from dementia. "He was really highly respected when he was in the service and he was in this veterans home since January," Hillman said. "I talked to daddy on the phone, and it was horrible. H was out of it. I didn’t understand what he was saying. It didn’t sound like him, to be honest with you. It was very sad."
Hillman said the home told her about patients being tested on May 6 and the facility held a parade for residents May 8. "A parade--where all the patients were outside, side by side in their wheelchairs, no masks on, no practicing six foot social distance," Hillman said.
According to Hillman, her mother received a call from the facility on May 9 that her father had the novel coronavirus.
"They are now saying it was a staff member who brought it in, who was careless on the outside and brought it in, and apparently it’s still happening because it’s more and more cases," Hillman said. "I think they became lax."
The nursing home for veterans has a full-contract with PruittHealth. A statement on its website said, "The company has continued to implement enhanced infection control protocols, including increasing cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation and screen staff and patients daily.” These measures have been in place since the center went to 'Alert Code Amber' on March 13.
PruittHealth says the facility is in ‘Alert Code Red Status' now, meaning all visitors and nonessential workers are prohibited from visiting. Information on cases at the facility can be found on PruittHealth’s website. The center received its first presumptive positive test result on Sunday, May 10, and was placed on 'Alert Code Red' at that time.