More NC nursing home COVID outbreaks means more lockdowns

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Many Triangle nursing homes are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, some for the second or even third time.

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According to the state’s latest numbers, 140 of these facilities currently have an outbreak, meaning two or more cases.

Under the state rules, every time there is an outbreak, the nursing home is locked down, meaning no visitors are allowed in. That makes it a lot harder for families to know how their loved ones are doing.

“It’s different but we make the best of it,” Janet Harmon said.

Harmon let CBS 17 crash her window visit with her mother, 89-year-old Sarah Catherine Bass or “Mama Cat.”

It happens every evening at BellaRose Nursing and Rehab in Garner.

“This is how we have to communicate with a baby monitor type system,” Harmon explained.

Mama Cat isn’t great with technology. She only has a flip phone. Baby monitors have worked well and over the last 17 months, they have had practice.

BellaRose is one of eight nursing homes in Wake County experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. It also means the facility is on lockdown.

“For me to feel like I’m doing everything that I can to take care of her. I don’t have the means to take care of her at home, which would be ideal,” Harmon said.

According to the state’s latest numbers, 140 nursing homes have outbreaks. Another 47 made the list this week. That is up 51 percent from last week.

The state says there are 1,170 COVID-19 cases in these facilities, most of the infected are staff members.

“Any family member who’s used to seeing, communicating, talking, and touching to not be able to do that is hard, is really hard,” Harmon said.

Fortunately, Mama Cat hasn’t contracted COVID, both women are vaccinated.

CBS 17 asked Harmon if she is frustrated more staff members aren’t getting vaccinated.

“Well, you know you can’t tell people what to do. It’s frustrating but even if they were vaccinated, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t bring it in,” she responded.

Harmon stressed BellaRose is doing everything they can.

CBS 17 reached out to BellaRose and the seven other nursing homes in Wake County experiencing an outbreak.

They either didn’t respond or declined our request for an interview.

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