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Senior living community in Forsyth County bans visitors over coronavirus concerns
Phoenix Senior Living announced it is not allowing visitors to its senior living communities, including The Phoenix at James Creek in Cumming, due to ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, on its website Monday, March 9, 2020. - photo by Brian Paglia

The operator of a senior living community in Forsyth County is not allowing visitors due to ongoing concerns surrounding the new coronavirus.

Phoenix Senior Living, a Roswell-based company that operates retirement communities in seven states in the Southeast, including 19 in Georgia, announced Monday, March 9, on its website that “no visitors will be permitted at any community until further notice.”

That includes The Phoenix at James Creek on Ruth Lane in Cumming.

Adult family members are permitted to visit only in “unique circumstances,” Phoenix Senior Living said, and must have written approval by the community’s executive director after getting pre-screened according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

No children under the age of 16 are allowed to visit.

“The health and wellness of our residents, caregivers, families, and staff in Phoenix Senior Living communities is our highest priority,” the company said on its website. “Phoenix executives and managers remain in close communication with the respective Boards of Health and other public health officials to make informed operational decisions.

“As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and concerns continue to evolve, we will follow the guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to implement health recommendations and share updated information with our PSL team as it becomes available.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and breathing trouble. For most people, this coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, but for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.

The company’s decision is the nearest example in Forsyth County of the disruptive force of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Currently, there are more than 120,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,600 deaths in 118 countries, areas or territories around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the U.S., 987 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, including 31 in Georgia, though none have been reported from Forsyth County.

On Wednesday, March 11, the WHO labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic, and the announcement sparked the cancellation or suspension of major events in the U.S. and around the world.

Major League Soccer postponed its season Thursday, a day after the NBA suspended regular season play following the news that a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the men’s and women’s basketball tournament, to be held in Atlanta, would be played without fans in attendance.

The city of Savannah canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that has been held for more than 100 years.

There have been fewer disruptions in Forsyth County. On Friday, March 6, organizers canceled the 15th annual Sewa International USA Holi Festival that was scheduled for Sunday at the Cumming Fairgrounds. Gracemont Senior Living, on Jot Em Down Road, canceled two upcoming activities for residents.

Otherwise, most county government, school district and community events were on as scheduled.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.