As of Tuesday, 208 nursing home residents across the state tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 21 of those stemmed from cases at The Waters of White Hall. Over the weekend, Jefferson County coroner Chad Kelley reported two additional deaths at the long-term care facility bringing the total to four.

As of Tuesday, 208 nursing home residents across the state tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 21 of those stemmed from cases at The Waters of White Hall. Over the weekend, Jefferson County coroner Chad Kelley reported two additional deaths at the long-term care facility bringing the total to four.
Last week, the Arkansas Department of Health confirmed that in addition to 21 residents, 19 healthcare workers and/or staff had contracted the novel coronavirus disease. The first known case at the 120-bed facility was reported on March 25. Health officials announced the initial case at The Waters of White Hall appeared to be associated with a case linked to the original cluster at Jefferson Regional Medical Center.
In a White House press briefing, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services issued a directive tasking nursing homes with reporting coronavirus cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with patients and their families.
“It's important that patients and their families have the information that they need and they need to understand what's going on in the nursing home,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said at the briefing.
The Department of Health has at least 34 active investigations at nursing homes, according to Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the state Department of Health. More than 100 healthcare workers and/or staff in those facilities have tested positive for the virus. In her message, Verma mentioned as states begin the process of reopening facilities the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ surveillance around COVID-19 will start in nursing homes.
“Our hearts and minds are with the patients and the families of those living in nursing homes,” she said. “This is an extraordinarily difficult situation. People living in nursing homes are of the most vulnerable patients. They’re elderly. Many of them have underlying health conditions and this has been a very hard situation. I really appreciate the strong efforts of governors and local communities that have shown great leadership in supporting nursing homes across the country…”
On March 13, the Department of Health issued a directive temporarily suspending visitation to nursing homes in Arkansas to reduce the spread of the virus. Initially, the suspension was expected to end on April 13, but now remains in effect until further notice. The directive prohibits 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. 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.
The Commercial reached out to The Waters of White Hall multiple times for comment about the uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and deaths, but did not receive a response by press time.
Previously, Donna Morton, the facility’s administrator released a statement declaring The Waters of White Hall’s “aggressive and proactive approach” against the coronavirus through “intense” methods including “monitoring, screening, education and awareness and appropriate prevention and management.”