Nursing homes take steps to fight against virus

Coronavirus

ANTWERP TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As communities fight back against the virus, senior living communities are priority since their residents can be most at risk to COVID-19.

“The risk of disease and of severe disease goes up with age and it goes up from about the age of 50 and about every 10 years it doubles. So, people who are in their 70s and 80s and older are at the highest risk,” said Dr. Richard Van Enk, director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Bronson Healthcare.

Van Enk works to make sure procedures are in place to protect seniors who live at Bronson Commons in Mattawan.

“The most vulnerable people in our society to this virus are probably patients in group settings like assisted living, and nursing homes and long-term care facilities and so there are new guidelines for those facilities,” he said

Bronson Commons is asking people to limit the number of visitors.

“Every visitor that comes in needs to be individually screened to make sure that they’re safe and they’re not bringing anything into the facility,” Van Enk said.

Visitors will see a sign at the door providing more information. They will have to answer screening questions before they can be buzzed in.

“Their travel history to the countries that have COVID, widespread, and their contact with a known COVID positive patient and they’re symptomatic,” he said.

The focus is to keep the virus from getting inside. But Bronson Commons continues to clean surfaces and remind staff to not come into work if they are sick.

“We haven’t confined our residents to their rooms or anything like that. We haven’t canceled any activities at this point,” he said.

Senior communities are not taking chances and trying to do everything they can to keep the virus away.

“We really don’t know how big this is going to get. So, we’re taking kind of maximum precautions right now because it could get a lot worse it might not, but we don’t know,” he said.

News 8 contacted many senior communities in West Michigan. Those representatives say they are also implementing the same procedures.

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