Two Statesboro nursing homes are taking advantage of a Georgia National Guard offer to deep clean and disinfect their facilities.
The voluntary requests follow a recent announcement that the Guard is offering the service, said Bulloch County Emergency Management/Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the state National Guard began offering the thorough disinfecting and training services statewide about two weeks ago, said Desiree Bamba, public information officer for the Georgia National Guard.
“We have already performed over 200” such cleanings across the state, she said Wednesday.
In Statesboro, the nursing home/assisted living facilities that requested the service are Eagle Health and Rehab on South College Street and Heritage Inn on Jones Mill Road, according to Wynn. Both are owned by Ithaca, Inc.
Spokespersons at both facilities referred questions about the requests to the Ithaca corporate office, which did not return phone calls Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to be hotspots for infections in the state. The South Central Health District said Sunday that 16 people had tested positive for the virus at an unnamed long-term care facility in Wilcox County, northeast of Albany. The state Department of Public Health last week confirmed infections in 80 long-term care facilities statewide, with at least 81 deaths resulting.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no nursing home or assisted-living facility in Statesboro had publically reported any confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Long-term care residents are especially vulnerable to illnesses that can be caused or exacerbated by COVID-19. The Georgia Department of Public Health says the number of cases in these facilities grows daily. Among the precautions advised by the health department is frequent cleaning with disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bamba said services offered by the National Guard vary, according to what the health care facility wants. The services range from training staff on proper sanitary measures to a full disinfectant scouring, conducted by teams of Guardsmen in protective gear, she said.
The National Guard team uses a disinfecting process that incorporates a solution approved by the EPA, following protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the health department.
Wynn said he expects other local facilities will seek the services. Nursing homes that wish to take advantage of the Georgia National Guard offer should contact Wynn, as the requests are made through the local Emergency Operations Center and then submitted to the state.
Wynn can be reached at (912) 489-1661, then press 9.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.