Since the emergence of the coronavirus, healthcare facilities, hospitals and nursing facilities have gone on lockdown, allowing no visitors. In the local area, patients at Traylor Nursing Home have been able to visit with their family members only through windows or by phone.

Late last week, the nursing home talked to family members of all patients/residents updating them on the situation in the nursing home. After talking to and consulting with family members, Traylor's issued a public statement on Friday to help calm fears and try to quiet some of the rumors that are being passed around the community and the county.

The statement from Administrator Matthew Lewis was as follows: "Two employees and one resident have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Every resident in the affected unit has been tested, and results should be back in a day or two. The resident had experienced no COVID-19 symptoms and was hospitalized for other health issues before testing positive for the virus."

In a statement released on Tuesday, the administrator said, "As you know, we confirmed our first case of COVID-19 last week, and follow-up testing since then indicates at least four employees and potentially 30 residents may be positive for the virus. We have taken every appropriate step to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff. We have been open and forthcoming with our regulators, our residents, their families and our hardworking staff," said Lewis.

In addition to what is being done at the facility in Roanoke to curb the virus, Lewis said they are utilizing other heath care facilities in the area. "These facilities have agreed to work with us in helping to protect our patients. We have been very fortunate to have cooperation from local community hospitals, including Lake Martin Community Hospital, Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Clay County Hospital and Elmore County Hospital to take care of our residents to help us manage the challenges of dealing with this virus."

Lewis went on to say, "Across the country, COVID-19 has hit nursing homes hard. Traylor implemented safety measures early on to try to keep the virus out of the nursing home; by restricting visitors, limiting contact among residents, and implementing regular checks for COVID symptoms. Despite the best efforts, the virus has found its way into more than 70 nursing homes in Alabama."

This invisible virus has been moving through the nation, Alabama and Randolph County silently infecting people for months now. Randolph's neighboring county, Chambers, was especially hit hard with the virus. "The challenge is that you can have this virus and spread it without showing any symptoms," Lewis said. "Even the tests are not a foolproof solution. There are sometimes false negatives and false positives, and just because you test negative today does not mean you will be negative tomorrow."

Traylor's continues to work to determine the extent of the virus spread and is following every state and federal guideline to manage the situation. From its first positive test, Traylor's has been upfront with families and with the community, even disclosing the COVID infections on its Facebook page.

Lewis said he has been humbled through the COVID-19 crisis at the love and support the Randolph County community has shown the facility, residents and staff. "People are praying for us, they're supporting us, and I can't say enough about how much that means. Our medical professionals and other dedicated caretakers and support staff have entered our building every day and night understanding the risk they are taking to help care for our most vulnerable population. I am in awe of their dedication and willingness to step up during this most difficult of times," said Lewis.

The nursing home wants to reassure everyone that they are doing everything they can to protect all of residents and staff. The efforts began well before Alabama had its first confirmed case of coronavirus, and they continue to take every precaution and follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prayer time

"Surround Traylor Health and Rehab Center with Love" prayer time will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m. The group will practice social distancing with spacing of at least 6 feet apart, and all participants will have to wear a mask. All are welcome to sit in their vehicles and pray if they do not have a mask or do not wish to get out.

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