Local nursing homes taking precautions

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Harris Heathcare in Osceola is taking every precaution possible to protect its residents, according to company CEO Boyd Wright, and that includes the addition of a new COVID-19 step-down unit.

When a post appeared on Facebook stating Harris Heathcare was hiring staff for a specialty step-down COVID-19 unit being developed at the local nursing home facility, the community began to ask questions, immediately fearing the worse. However, Wright easily put those fears to rest.

“We have zero cases of the coronavirus in any of our five nursing homes and no one who is known to have the virus will be admitted,” Wright explained to The Times.

The specialty unit is being set up for the protection of the nursing home residents in the company’s five facilities located in Osceola, Manila, Blytheville, Gosnell and Lake City, he further explained.

If a resident is admitted into a hospital for any reason, once they are released they will go to the step-down unit for 14 days as a precaution before being allowed contact with the rest of the nursing home residents.

This is also true for a new admission. “Before anyone is admitted, they will go to the special unit as a precautionary measure.

“We are taking all the precautions we can,” Wright stressed, “to keep our residents and staff safe. We won’t be able to prevent this disease from getting into our buildings, but we are doing everything we can to keep it at bay.”

Those extra precautions include constant sanitization of everything in the building. Wright explained even their employees are now coming to work dressed in street clothes. Upon arrival, they change into their uniforms and change back into street clothes when they leave. The uniforms are washed each night, ready for the next day.

“So many people are slipping through the cracks in this country,” Wright added. “They may not test positive for the virus, but might be a carrier.

“This new unit is about protecting our community,” Wright concluded. “We are not bringing in the virus... it is quite the opposite.”