As of Tuesday, 21 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at The Waters of White Hall up 13 from last week's total of eight.
As of Tuesday, 21 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at The Waters of White Hall up 13 from last week’s total of eight. The numbers have multiplied dramatically since The Commercial first reported the initial positive case on March 25.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health’s public information officer, Danyelle McNeill, the results include nine patients and 12 healthcare workers. Officials announced the initial case at The Waters of White Hall appeared to be associated with a case linked to Jefferson Regional Medical Center.
“We are very concerned about our nursing home population,” said Arkansas Department of Health secretary Nate Smith in a press conference. “They are a very vulnerable population. Long-term care facilities in general, but nursing homes in particular are places where COVID-19 is known to spread quickly and we’re happy that we haven’t seen that kind of explosive spread in the nursing homes where we have positive cases.”
Next Monday, the directive for visitation on nursing homes expires unless the Department of Health extends it. The directive prohibited all visitation at long-term care facilities unless medically necessary, by law enforcement or emergency personnel, a representative from the Department of Health, a representative from the Department of Human Services Office of Long-Term Care or a representative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a minimum of 30 days.
A long-term care facility defined by section 20-10-101(10) of the Arkansas Code includes nursing homes, residential care facilities and assisted living facilities. During Tuesday’s press briefing, Smith noted 946 positive cases across the state with 237 being 65 and older. In total, 61 nursing homes patients in Arkansas have tested positive for the virus along with 134 healthcare workers.
“The safety and well-being of our residents and staff is our top priority and we are taking a very aggressive and proactive approach in preventing and defending against the virus through intense monitoring, screening, education and awareness and appropriate prevention and management,” said The Waters of White Hall administrator Donna Morton in a previous statement to The Commercial. “We are in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking every appropriate step presently.”
Two more deaths were reported in the state bringing the death toll to 18, according to Smith.