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Gov. Beshear restricts nursing home visits: What it means for Magoffin

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SALYERSVILLE – With eight confirmed cases in the state, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had its first effect on Magoffin County, with the governor issuing an order restricting visitation to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Administrator Josh Calhoun released the following statement on Tuesday, March 10, after Governor Andy Beshear’s order was made public:

“We are aware of the situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus and following it very closely. Our facility is using the CDC guidelines as direction, and suggest the community do the same. We ask that visitors with any signs or symptoms, been exposed to, recently recovered or have traveled to areas with any type of viral/bacterial outbreak to refrain from visiting our residents. Visitors will be limited based on the orders set forth by the governor of Kentucky. As with any type of illness, we cannot express enough the importance of proper hand washing and cough etiquette.”

In a video posted on Facebook, Calhoun went into more detail, stating, “I want to ensure all family members that your loved ones are safe within our care. I’d also like to say as an extra precaution each day our staff will have their temperature taken and a health screen will be performed to keep your family members safe and make sure we don’t let anyone in our facility that may be sick.”

Calhoun reiterated the patients’ needs are their highest concern, noting that family members can still bring items to residents.

“If there are things you would like to have delivered to your family members, please do so at the Blue Wing awning and we’ll gladly accept those at the door,” Calhoun said. “We can ask that you not enter the facility for the safety of our residents and to the order given to us by the governor of Kentucky.”

Calhoun said if anyone has any questions to call his office at 606-349-6181, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The order issued by the governor, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Office of Inspector General stated, “In addition to the recent recommendations from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Public Health, pursuant to authority granted in KRS 214.020 and Executive Order 2020-215 hereby issues this supplemental guidance by recommending that long-term care facilities limit visitation only to those loved ones that are receiving end-of-life care.”

The order further explains that the visitors that are allowed will have to have their temperatures taken at the facility’s front desk and they must be escorted to and from the room they are visiting. Visitors with 100.1 degrees F temperatures will be denied entry and should be advised to seek medical attention if they are showing any other respiratory infection signs or symptoms,

if they have recently traveled internationally to restricted countries or if they have had contact with someone under investigation for COVID-19. 

On Tuesday evening, Governor Beshear held a press conference on the issue, stating that 20 cases had been tested on Tuesday, with 18 negative and 2 positive. At press time, the total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Kentucky remains at eight, though Beshear noted that number will rise. Of the eight, five are in Harrison County, two in Fayette and one in Jefferson.

He said all of the Harrison County individuals can be linked.

Beshear commended Harrison County for their quick actions, canceling schools and distributing small newspapers to all residents with important information about the virus.

“This just shows being prepared and taking the necessary steps can do so much,” Beshear said. 

He noted that the state of emergency is still in effect, allowing the state access to all the tools and supplies needed to combat the virus.

Beshear also emphasized that if someone is sick and suspects it could be COVID-19, they should call the Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-722-5725. He urged sick people to stay home unless they require medical attention.

People over 60 years old and people with heart, lung or kidney diseases or other chronic illnesses are urged to avoid large crowds, to not fly and to not get on cruise ships, per the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

As for the restrictions on the nursing home and long-term care facilities’ visitation, Beshear said, “This is about life, health and safety. It’s my job to help prevent what happened in Seattle from happening here.”

He urged businesses to prepare telework options and paid sick leave that would cover employees from the time of concern, the testing period and the recovery period.

On Monday, Magoffin County Health Department Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete

 Shepherd handed out flyers to local businesses, detailing facts from the CDC regarding COVID-19, including:

- diseases can make anyone sick regardless of race or ethnicity,
- people who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or been in an area with an ongoing spread are at an increased risk of exposure,
- someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people,
- know the symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and seek medical advice if you develop symptoms and have been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or to an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19,
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; stay home when you’re sick; and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
 

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Heather Oney

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