Prayer service held outside of Greer skilled nursing facility seeing several COVID-19 cases

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GREER, S.C. (WSPA) – A Greer skilled nursing facility is getting hit with COVID-19. A handful of residents and a staff member have tested positive for the virus at the Greer Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, that’s according to a spokesperson with the facility.

A spread out gathering of hope outside of a Greer skilled nursing facility where a spokesperson told us nine residents have contracted the virus along with a staff member.

Shanna Thompson-Tucker saying a prayer under her surgical mask. A prayer that is close to her heart, it’s about her uncle.

“I visit him a lot, I pick him up,” said Greer Resident, Shanna Thompson-Tucker.

He has been in the Greer Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for the last three years. However she told us she just got a letter from the facility, saying something she hoped wouldn’t hit so close to home.

“Once I got a letter and it stated someone there does have COVID-19, I got very concerned,” said Thompson-Tucker.

And that’s why she was outside the facility Sunday with a megaphone in hand, standing feet away from Rev. Edward Ballenger.

They’re praying for not only her uncle but everyone inside.

While she along with other people who have loved ones in this facility can’t give them a hug or hold their hands, Thompson-Tucker told us she’s going to keep doing what she said has always worked for her.

“I think that social distance is the key to solving the whole thing and prayer,” said Thompson-Tucker.

You can find the full statement from the facility here:

“Skilled nursing facilities house our nation’s frail and elderly, a population most at risk during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Recognizing the need to care for our residents in as proactive as manner as possible, Greer Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center (“GRH”) took aggressive early steps, before receiving any formal coronavirus guidance, in order to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. Those preparations included holding clinical team planning sessions to ensure adequate resources and staffing, sourcing personal protective equipment supplies, and, most importantly, prior to the government mandated the practice, GRH restricted visitors from the building and instituted temperature screening for staff or essential vendors before entering the building.  In addition, GRH cancelled all communal dining and group activities and implemented a rigorous preventative early-warning protocol covering oxygen and temperature levels of all residents. 

Despite our rigorous systems and best efforts, we have experienced what many other health care facilities have and will continue to experience during these challenging times, the virus has entered our building. We currently have 9 known positive resident cases and one known positive staff member case. While this crisis is unprecedented, the care provided at GRH remains at the same high level as always, and our dedicated and heroic staff are continuing to care for all residents regardless of their COVID-19 status. To contain and limit the spread of the virus within the facility, GRH has constructed an isolation ward to treat residents who have tested positive, using barriers, zippered plastic sheeting, and air scrubbers creating a negative pressure environment to provide the best possible therapeutic atmosphere for residents being treated for the virus and to protect our other residents.

GRH has always believed in full transparency with family members and those responsible for our residents. All family members and responsible parties who are designated to receive such information were promptly notified after the first positive test result and we remain committed to providing regular updates as circumstances warrant.

As the administrator of the building, I can say that our organization has been ahead of our peers in preparation, however, this disease doesn’t follow any game plan.  We’re trying to determine how the virus entered the building given our aggressive early precautions. We have pre-screened, quarantined as necessary, and constantly monitored the temperature of staff and anyone entering the building, including surveyors from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control who came to the building for an annual certification survey after the ban on visitors was in place. The survey team noted that our facility’s protocols for dealing with Covid-19 were both proper and effective.

We are in close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking every appropriate step, including continuing to follow all of the latest “CMS Long Term Care Facility Guidelines” pertaining to infection control, screening, personal protective equipment and staffing. GRH has and will continue to follow all guidance provided by the CDC, CMS, and state/local health departments.”

Katherine Joy

Administrator

Greer Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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