20 coronavirus deaths at Butts County nursing home

Westbury Medical Care and Rehab in Jackson has the second-highest number of coronavirus related deaths a long term care facility in Georgia.

Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health indicates 20 residents of the nursing home have died due to the virus. 

The first two coronavirus deaths in Butts County came from Westbury Medical Care and Rehab, according to DPH. 

Jennifer Vasil, the administrator for the nursing home, said they had their first confirmed case of the coronavirus on April 4. 

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Since then, Vasil said the facility has been doing everything they can to keep their residents as safe as possible. She said they've also tried to be as transparent as possible. 

"Screening staff, actually stopping visitation completely, education with the staff about the COVID-19 virus, education with the residents, communication with the families, as well as aggressive cleaning and disinfection," Vasil said. 

Members of the Georgia National Guard helped deep clean the facility on April 1 and another company was hired to disinfect the property on Friday. 

Every single resident has been tested for the Coronavirus. According to state data, 98 have tested positive. 

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Vasil said the delay in getting testing results made things a little difficult for them. However, out of an abundance of caution, they operated as though everyone was positive until they were able to get the results. 

Twenty-four of 200 staff members have tested positive. 

Vasil said the nursing home has been sectioned off to keep those who have tested positive a safe distance away from those who have tested negative. 

"We have three hallways or communities here for where the negative residents live and then five hallways where the residents that have tested positive reside. And they have dedicated caregivers on those units," Vasil said. 

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Vasil said they left it up to the individual residents to make decisions about their own treatment plans.

"Whether than means, being treated at the hospital or if they're just treated in the facility as aggressively as possible as they could be in the facility. Of our deaths, 13 did not desire aggressive treatment, and two were already under hospice care," Vasil said. 

Many staff members have spent years taking care of the residents. Vasil said it has been a difficult time for their team. 

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