A Cleveland County nursing home said it is testing staff weekly for the coronavirus. This comes after state health department numbers released Tuesday showed 168 cases at White Oak Manor in King’s Mountain -- more than any other congregate living setting in North Carolina.
Twenty facility residents have died because of the coronavirus and 110 residents tested positive, according to North Carolina’s Department Health and Human Services, which releases a report on ongoing outbreaks in congregate living settings each Tuesday and Friday.
Fifty-eight staff members are also included in the total case count.
Mary Whiteside’s mother, Patsy Whiteside, lives at White Oak Manor and tested positive for the coronavirus in early August. The 78-year-old has dementia. Mary Whiteside said she was able to visit with her mother twice daily through a window in the nursing home room where she was isolated. She was worried she would die.
“I’m thinking, ‘What am I going to do without my mother?’ It’s very very scary. It’s hard because you can’t do anything. All you can do is stand in the window and wave,” Whiteside said.
Pasty Whiteside recovered after about three weeks in isolation, Mary Whiteside said on Thursday. She said she does not fault the nursing home for the outbreak.
“I blame people who aren’t wearing masks out in the world,” Whiteside said. “I blame those people who don’t get that you may have contact with a nurse while you’re out. And that nurse goes back and takes it to a nursing home.”
White Oak Manor’s Operations Director, Greg Forsey, declined an interview on Thursday. He said in an emailed statement that the facility is working with the health department to conduct regular testing and “has initiated weekly employee testing by an outside company.”
"Our deepest condolences go out to the families of our residents who lost their lives to COVID-19," Forsey's statement read. "We are here for you, and we are fighting for your family members."
In August, NC DHHS issued an order requiring nursing homes to test staff biweekly. The department said it would provide CARES Act funding to pay for that testing.
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