Local retirement homes prepared for possible Coronavirus exposure


BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The population most at risk of contracting the Coronavirus is the elderly, many who already have weakened immune systems.

Many nursing homes and retirement communities in the area were already warning visitors, employees, and residents about the flu.

Now, with Coronavirus, their strategy to keep folks healthy and safe is focusing on prevention.

On Friday morning at Garvey Manor in Hollidaysburg, Infection Preventionist Laura Bankert put up a new health notice.

“We definitely want our residents to feel like their in the safest place that they could possibly be as far as getting sick,” she said.

However, administrator Sister Joachim said the announcement of confirmed cases of the virus in Pennsylvania doesn’t change their procedures.

“The fact that there is two cases in the state really doesn’t make it any different from what we’ve doing right along because infection control is part of our culture,” she said.

Because of flu seasons, employees and visitors were told to stay home if they showed any symptoms, like fever or cough, and practice healthy hand-washing habits.

“You need to make sure that you’re covering all surfaces of the hands, under the nails, in between your fingers, and up to your wrists to ensure that you’re making sure you kill as much virus or bacteria as possible,” Bankert said.

Despite the expanding number of cases, residents at the manor aren’t panicking.

“They have not voiced any concerns of anxiety that we’re not doing something to protect them,” Sister Joachim said.

The masks health professionals wear are to prevent spreading anything to their patients. It will not protect you from the virus. The best way to prevent getting sick is washing your hands and not touching your face.

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