Testing delays making a tough job tougher at Mountain View Health

  • Out of 86 residents at Mountain View Health, 46 have tested positive for COVID-19. Only two cases were symptomatic and 18 residents have recovered.
    Out of 86 residents at Mountain View Health, 46 have tested positive for COVID-19. Only two cases were symptomatic and 18 residents have recovered.

CLAYTON—It’s a surreal setting.

At Mountain View Health & Rehab, a long-term care facility on Warwoman Road, 46 of the 86 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to cumulative numbers provided by the Georgia Dept. of Community Health. A total of 18 have recovered.

Only two of the positive cases have proven to be symptomatic so far, and there have been no deaths.

The facility is on total lockdown, said Administrator Shari Jordan. Visitors are prohibited. The staff at Mountain view is following safety procedures recommended by state and federal health officials, who are consulted on a near-daily basis, she said.

“Never in my entire life have I experienced anything of this duration and intensity,” Jordan said. “And it’s not going away.”

She said areas of the building have been blocked off, temporary walls and protective barriers have been set up.

“If a resident says they have symptoms, we assume it’s COVID,” Jordan said.

A special COVID-19 unit has been set up inside the building as a separate nursing center, complete with its own mop buckets, treatment carts and linens, she added.

A total of 257 tests have been administered at the facility so far, which included multiple testings of individuals.

But, Jordan said, the delay in receiving test results creates additional challenges.

“It’s taking 7-11 days to get results back,” she added. “We’ve called the CDC, our state senator, everybody we can think of. You want us to be able to protect these residents, we have to get our test results faster.”

Dave Palmer, Public Information Officer for the Georgia Dept. Of Public Health, confirmed the delays in receiving test results.

“Because so many people have been requesting COVID-19 testing, the turnaround times increased from 3-7 days, to 7-10 days,” Palmer said Tuesday.  “Gov. Kemp announced a partnership with a new lab on July 20. This new initiative will reduce the time to get results.”

Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health announced a new testing partnership with Mako Medical to provide testing supplies and services to process 10,000 SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests per day. The  state's partnership with Mako will provide test results within 48 hours, on average, according to a news release from Kemp’s office.

Safety precautions at Mountain View range from regular spray cleaning of surface areas to mandated Personal Protective Equipment for all staff members.

“Everybody who comes into the building must be screened,” Jordan said. “They should already have their N-95 of KN-95 mask, with another mask over that, and wear a face shield.”

Jordan said a state health surveyor paid a visit to the building last Thursday.

“She looked at everything and said we are going above and beyond,” she added.

Still, Jordan expressed frustration for the situation.

You can’t keep it out of a nursing home facility,” she said. “Either it came in on a package or one of our staff had to bring it in. We advise all our employees to follow safety measures, but you can’t control what happens outside the building.”
Members of the Georgia National Guard have cleaned the facility three times in recent weeks.

Families of residents are restricted to window visits and Zoom meetings with their loved ones. Mountain View provides two iPads and helps families arrange visits.

“It’s tough. It’s hard not to cry when I see their faces,” Jordan said, herself fighting back tears. “Our residents are scared. We try to keep them happy and safe. I keep praying for the families. They are missing each other terribly.”