Lake Waccamaw assisted living facility reports 12th COVID-19 case

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Lake Waccamaw assisted living facility has reported its 12th case of coronavirus.

“This is just the first time in my lifetime, any time I can remember and in my 20 years career here as the administrator, that we’ve experienced anything like this,” Premier Living and Rehab Center Administrator Gennie Parnell said.

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Premier Living and Rehab Center made the announcement on Facebook, as they talked about fighting the ‘invisible enemy’ since before the beginning of March.

“We started out by “Limiting” visitation which quickly turned to “Restricted” and we locked the doors at 5:00 pm on March 13 after receiving the Governor’s Executive Order,” the post said.

“It’s very difficult to give care from six feet away,” Parnell said.

When the virus first started to spread in March, Parnell says she contacted all of her department heads and told them to keep ordering supplies until she told them to stop, anticipating a serious situation.

The facility said they received a call on April 10 from the Columbus County Health Department, breaking the news of the positive case after a resident was hospitalized. After five positive tests, the facility made the move to test everyone to be on the safe side, and discovered six more cases.

“We made the decision to go ahead and test everyone, just so we could try to knock it down,” Parnell said. “Get a handle on it. And we were extremely surprised to find their were six additional cases.”

The facility said it prepared a separate wing to allow them to focus on those who have tested positive and attempt to stop the spread among all others. Even so, they received notice Monday of its 12th positive result. The facility said the same person tested negative just five days ago.

“For anyone that thinks it’s not real, don’t be fooled. One person reacts in the worst way while the next person tests positive and has yet to exhibit the first symptom! You can be carrying it and spreading it and not even know! It’s crazy! It’s confusing and frustrating. Crying on the drive to or from work has become “normal”.”

Parnell says they designated a wing of the facility for COVID-positive residents. She says their residents who tested but, but are not showing symptoms are doing well.

“Two of our folks who went to the hospital and were hospitalized due to the virus, have been discharged and have come back to us,” she said.

With visitor restrictions, Parnell says it’s made things even harder on everyone, but they’re making it work.

“I’ve done several Messenger or FaceTime videos with family members and their loved ones, sent pictures,” she said. “There’s no telling how many phone calls have been made, just so they can hear their voice.”

The facility commended the staff members who are working on the frontlines.

“To anyone who says they expected it to affect us here, I say you have no idea just how hard we fought and continue to fight to keep it out. There are those volunteering to work exclusively with the positive residents, sacrificing their families and lives to ensure your loved ones and friends are cared for. Saying we’re proud of all of them is a major understatement! To stand beside them in this battle is an extraordinary honor. They are truly amazing. Anyone who thought we or any facility would want this; that we “let” this happen is severely mistaken! There is absolutely nothing further from the truth!” the post said.

Dear Friends,We started preparing for and have been fighting this invisible enemy, the Coronavirus, since before the…

Posted by Premier Living & Rehab Center Info Page on Monday, April 20, 2020

Once the 14-day quarantine is up for each resident, Parnell says they will test them again before moving them out of the facility’s COVID wing.