LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Three more Lewis County nursing home residents have contracted COVID-19. That’s a total of 13 residents along with at least 8 staff members who have the virus. For a man who can’t visit his wife, it’s a story of frustration and worry.
“It’s very scary and worrisome, of course, for me and everybody else that has family members there.”
Bob Meekins’ wife, Judy, is a resident of the Lewis County Health System nursing home.
As of Thursday, the hospital reported 13 residents and 8 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Bob says Judy Suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
He says because of her condition, Judy is unable to communicate how she’s feeling.
“Judy does not have other health issues other than Alzheimer’s but she can’t talk for herself and say, ‘I’ve got a soar throat,’ or, ‘I don’t feel well.’ It has to be on the staff’s end to monitor her health condition,” said Meekins.
Hospital CEO Jerry Cayer confirms that all positive residents reside on the same floor and are isolated in a constructed, negative pressure COVID unit.
The positive employees are also in isolation.
Meekins says he believes he knows how the virus got into the nursing home.
“None of the public has been able to be in the nursing home at all so it has to be staff coming in,” he said.
Cayer responded Thursday by saying, “I believe somewhere along the line we have had positive employees. We’ve had some events in Lewis County, several not all classified as cluster events, that many members of the community have attended, including some staff of our organization.”
Cayer says the hospital has taken all necessary precautions, but still has been unable to block the virus from entering the nursing home. Why? Cayer says more testing needs to be available for frontline workers who take care of our most vulnerable.
“I am offended, frankly, that we are able to test NBA players daily, Major League Baseball players daily, football players daily, but we can’t test healthcare workers daily and with a high quality effective efficient test and get a result daily. We have to do it weekly and then find out four days later? I ask you and the community what’s wrong with that picture,” he said.
Meekins says he’s been told that his wife is not near the COVID unit and that she is not exhibiting any symptoms. The last time he was able to see her was in October for 30 minutes.