Family members express concerns over COVID-19 outbreak at Atlanta nursing home

Nearly 60 residents at the William Breman Jewish Home in Atlanta have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The GDPH numbers also show 11 residents have died due to the virus.

Marla Krohn's mother passed away early Monday morning after testing positive for COVID-19.

"We were shocked. How did it get to be so many people?" said Krohn.

Krohn said her mother, Helen Center, was a young 88-year-old.

"My mother was only 88. I mean, she lived a long life but in our opinion, her life was cut short. She wasn't an ailing woman," Krohn said.

Krohn said there wasn't enough communication from the William Breman Jewish Home in the days leading up to her mother's death.

She said the family wasn't notified right away about their mother's positive test.

"My sister was really concerned about our mother and so she called and somebody told her out of the blue that mama had COVID. Allison said 'What do you mean my mother has COVID? Nobody has told me my mother has COVID. I'm just calling to check on her,'" Krohn said.

Center passed away unexpectedly about a week after this call.

Krohn said she hopes the nursing home is able to get the virus under control and keep this from happening to other residents and their families.

She reminded the community to take precautions against COVID-19, not just for themselves but for those who are more vulnerable.

"My sisters and I have lost my mother and our children have lost their maw maw and it's tragic. It really is. You always wonder could it have been different," Krohn said.

The nursing home sent FOX 5 a statement saying it has vigilant about testing and other prevention methods. It reads:

"The William Breman Jewish Home (The Home), a non-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that has been supporting Atlanta’s older adults of all faiths since 1951, is currently experiencing an uncharacteristic spike in COVID-19 cases. Prior to this recent outbreak, the last confirmed resident case at the 96-bed facility was in May, and cumulatively the facility had only 12 resident cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

"The initial cases in this new spike of now 28 residents and 8 staff were identified through the weekly testing of all staff as mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which regulates skilled nursing homes. CMS provided nursing homes around the country with BD Rapid Test machines, and mandated testing through this process based on the county positivity rate as part of their three-phase reopening guidelines. At the time of the outbreak, The Home had been in Level II re-opening status, but has now moved back to Phase I.

"Prior to the BD Rapid Test requirement, The Home only used the more sensitive and accurate PCR-based testing with an outside lab. The facility has been strictly following CMS testing protocols, but due to the reported high incidence of false results with rapid tests, began using the PCR-based lab test as secondary verification for positive results or negative results accompanied by any symptoms.

"When three positive cases were identified in its weekly staff testing, The Home performed BD rapid tests on all residents. When additional positive results were uncovered in asymptomatic residents, the Infection Control team immediately performed the more reliable PCR-based tests on all residents to determine with confidence the true scope of the outbreak.

"Harley Tabak, Jewish HomeLife President & CEO states, “The William Breman Jewish Home has strictly followed all CMS, CDC, and state and local health department guidelines and recommendations throughout the pandemic. We have been vigilant about our infection control practices, and in June received a deficiency-free COVID-19 CMS Survey Inspection by the state of Georgia. However, even the strictest protocols do not make one immune. Once COVID enters the environment, it can spread quickly before even the first symptom is identified. As a nursing home, we must always balance critical infection prevention protocols with our employee’s own personal lives, with a hospital’s need to release rehab patients regardless of COVID status, and our residents’ psycho-social needs of seeing their loved ones.

"It is very unfortunate that despite our extraordinary diligence in obtaining and using proper PPE, cleaning practices, employee training, liberal PCR-based testing and aggressive contact tracing, that COVID was still able to enter our building. It saddens all of us that our residents are once again unable to visit with their families and enjoy the camaraderie of their friends and neighbors because this virus spreads so rapidly, and our efforts to contain the spread were not quick enough. We will continue to do everything possible to contain the spread, and we are hopeful that our residents and staff impacted by the virus will recover quickly.” The William Breman Jewish Home is the founding entity of the non-profit Jewish Home Life Communities (DBA Jewish HomeLife), which supports every stage of the aging journey through our network of at-home care services and residential communities. For more information visit "