10 deaths at local nursing home

Saturday, September 12, 2020

In a report from the Arkansas Department of Health, it was shown that there have been a total of 12 COVID-19 related deaths in Mississippi County nursing homes, 10 of which were reported from Gosnell Therapy and Living Center.

The report also lists Heritage Square in Blytheville, and Harris Healthcare in Osceola each having one death related to COVID-19.

According to Rachel Bunch, executive director of the Arkansas Healthcare Association, the 10 deaths at Gosnell Therapy and Living occurred over a three-week period in August, though the Arkansas Department of Health reported them all on one report.

Bunch said, as of Friday afternoon, there were four residents of the nursing home with active cases of COVID-19 and no staff with an active case of the virus.

She added by this weekend, all four current active cases would be considered recovered. Bunch said residents and staff of Gosnell Therapy and Living were tested this week with all testing negative except the four current active cases.

Bunch said an inspection of the nursing home has shown it is deficiency-free on infection control.

“We appreciate the support and prayers from the community,” Bunch said, thanking the frontline workers who take care of the sick patients.

During Blytheville Mayor James Sanders press conference on Wednesday, it was stated that another directive would be coming out soon regarding restaurants.

“It’s going to be a new directive released later on today, in regards to the restaurants and the amount of people that can be in there and how they can serve food,” said Sanders.

The directive on Resuming Restaurant Dine-in Operations was modified to include requirements for self-service buffets and can be accessed on the Arkansas Department of Health website under ‘Directives’.

The modification states that the capacity of the buffet areas depends on the ability of customers to maintain a six-foot distance. It also states that single-use food service gloves should be located at all entrances to the buffet with proper signage, and serving utensils should be replaced every hour and/or every time a food item is replaced on the buffet. Masks are still required for all people within the self-service areas along with the other requirements of Phase 1 and 2 operations, as listed on the website.

The directive also states that the restrictions will be in place until the Secretary of Health “determines epidemiological data are sufficient to proceed to Phase 3” and that Phase 3 will include returning to normal operations with full seating capacity.

As of Friday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, Mississippi County has a total of 1,456 positive cases, 87 active cases, 1,335 recoveries, 34 deaths and 10,097 negative test results.