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Alabama National Guard sanitizes nursing home in Florence

Members of the Alabama National Guard planned this with the nursing home for several weeks in advance.

Posted: May 27, 2020 11:58 AM
Updated: May 27, 2020 9:38 PM

WAAY 31 is learning more about how the Alabama National Guard is helping nursing homes in the state by doing a deep cleaning of the facilities.

Wednesday, men and women from the Alabama National Guard with Task Force 31 out of Huntsville came to Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Florence to sanitize the large facility.

The guard members who actually went into the building had on head to toe PPEs and gas masks. They even had their gloves taped to their suits so not a single space of skin was showing. The soldiers went into the building in teams.

Some teams had strapped fog machines to their backs with a hydrogen peroxide mix to sanitize the larger communal areas. Others had disinfecting sprays and wipes to wipe down individual rooms and surfaces.

"We're helping eliminate the spread of COVID-19 and it's very rewarding," said Sgt. Tristin Biggs, with Task Force 31.

Biggs said they have done this at about 30 nursing homes from Jasper to Guntersville since the coronavirus pandemic started.

"We're being as cautious as we can to ensure the well being of our soldiers and to go on and make sure we are doing a thorough job and making sure they are pleased with our efforts," said Sgt. Biggs.

Mitchell-Hollingsworth administrator Brian Scheri said a lot of planning and coordination with the Alabama National Guard went into this.

"When the initial lady came up to show us the process she left photographs of what the folks would be wearing so we could show our residents inform our family members our staff members on what to expect," said Scheri.

Scheri said they wanted to do this as an added layer of protection. He said he is thankful the Alabama National Guard is doing this for nursing homes free of charge.

"This whole thing has been about prevention and I think my staff has done an amazing job at doing that," said Scheri.

It took the soldiers a little under three hours to complete their task.

On Tuesday, the Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing and Rehabilitation center confirmed with WAAY31 they had an employee test positive around May 20th. The National Guard was scheduled to come in three weeks prior to the employee testing positive.

That employee is in quarantine for 14 days from the time her or she tested positive. After that, if the person has a negative test and no symptoms they may come back to work, according to Mitchell-Hollingsworth officials.

Scheri said they immediately had everyone tested who came in contact with the employee. No one else has tested positive. All residents have tested negative.

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