Alabama National Guard disinfecting nursing homes during coronavirus crisis

John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association tells WAAY 31 the Alabama National Guard made its first stop to disinfect a nursing home over the weekend.

Posted: Apr 21, 2020 5:05 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2020 6:01 PM

On Tuesday, the CEO of Crestwood Hospital said they're monitoring two outbreaks in Marshall County: One at a poultry plant and another at a long-term care facility.

This news comes as the Alabama National Guard is making its rounds to nursing homes across the state to disinfect and decontaminate facilities.

The Alabama Nursing Home Association says the National Guard is visiting facilities with positive coronavirus cases first.

At American Health Communities Millenium, administrators tell WAAY 31 they haven't had any cases of coronavirus, but they've still requested a visit from the Alabama National Guard as an extra precaution to keep staff and residents safe.

"We could be June or July before life gets back to normal for Alabama's nursing homes," said John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

Matson said the Alabama National Guard made its first stop to disinfect a nursing home over the weekend.

"They have specialized equipment and chemicals that are used when you need to disinfect or sanitize an entire building," said Matson.

Now, the National Guard is going to nursing homes with positive cases of coronavirus first, but facilities without any cases can request a visit from the National Guard as well.

"The National Guard calls each nursing home to assess the facility's needs and then puts in on a priority list which then goes into a schedule," said Matson.

Administrators at American Health Communities Millenium said they haven't had any cases of coronavirus, but have already requested a visit.

"I think having the National Guard come in and a public servent come in and offer assistance will enhance the activities that we've already implemented," said Barbara Stripling with the American Health Communities Millennium.

At this point, there's no timeline for when the National Guard will be in North Alabama.

In the meantime, Stripling says employees have been disinfecting the building regularly and are screened before they are allowed to come inside. Administrators tell me they will screen the National Guard members, too.

"To make sure that we're not unnecessarily exposing our staff and our residents," said Stripling.

WAAY 31 spoke with another nursing home, South Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Employees there say they won't request a visit until they have a confirmed case.

"At this time we just don't feel like it's necessary to allow non-employees into the facility. It's just another way to limit our community access," said Christina Guffey with the South Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Right now, administrators at AHC Millenium say they aren't sure when the National Guard will visit.

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