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The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 47 positive cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities in Georgia on Friday, including one in Forsyth County.
The DPH made the list of cases in long-term care facilities public for the first time since the novel coronavirus outbreak began, announcing the information in an email. The department will update the list every Friday.
Facilities in 21 counties have a positive case. DeKalb County has the most, with nine.
Forsyth County had 61 cases of COVID-19 overall by Friday, according to the DPH, but information has been sparse about individual cases. There’s known to have been positive cases of an employee at a local Publix and a manufacturing plant, and a South Forsyth company that manufactures lottery tickets reported one of its suppliers that visited its plant tested positive for the virus.
This is the first case reported at a long-term care facility in Forsyth. The case is at The Mann House, an assisted-living and memory care facility at 8025 Majors Road next to Piney Grove Middle School in South Forsyth. It’s the second of the company’s two locations. The other opened in 1988 in Buckhead.
The Mann House specializes in caring for “those suffering with Alzheimer’s, acute memory care and chronic diseases,” according to its website. The Cumming location features 50 “private suites” where residents have 24-hour access to staff. The facility includes a beauty/barbershop, courtyards, patio and community rooms.
The FCN has reached out to The Mann House for comment.
Long-term care facilities are considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, which can be especially fatal in the elderly and those with medical complications.
On Tuesday, March 31, the state activated and deployed over 100 Georgia National Guardsmen to long-term care facilities with COVID-19 cases “to implement infection control protocols and enhanced sanitation methods to mitigate COVID-19 exposure among vulnerable residents,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
The state sent 20 soldiers to Pelham Parkway Nursing Home in Pelham, Georgia, which had five reported positive cases, to audit existing sanitation methods, train staff in more aggressive infectious disease control measures and clean the facility. Other facilities will have four to five soldiers.
"Georgia's top priority is increasing healthcare capacity to protect vulnerable Georgians, especially those residing in long-term care facilities," Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. "If we can keep these populations as healthy as possible, we will be able to conserve precious medical supplies and hospital bed space in the coming days and weeks."
President Donald Trump and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued new recommendations for long-term care facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which included implementing symptom screening for staff, residents and visitors; ensuring staff uses personal protective equipment; using separate staff teams; and separating residents who are not known to have COVID-19 from those that are infected.
This story will be updated.