Baltimore nursing home has had 0 COVID-19 cases: 3 things to know

Maryland Baptist Aged Home in Baltimore hasn't reported a single case of COVID-19, a rare instance as more than 1 million cases have been reported across the country's long-term care facilities, CBS News reports. 

The Rev. Dr. Derrick DeWitt, the small facility's CFO, spoke to CBS about what they have done to keep COVID-19 out of their facility. 

Three actions the facility took:

1. Shutdown early. After learning about the first few U.S. COVID-19 cases, Dr. DeWitt shutdown the facility Feb. 28, prohibiting all visitation. Even Dr. DeWitt stayed out of the facility, he told CBS. 

2. Enforced rigid staff restrictions. "We were extreme with our employees," Dr. DeWitt said. The nursing home asked employees to stay committed to safety measures outside of work, including not attending family gatherings, wearing masks at home and encouraging them to avoid public transportation by paying for their ride sharing trips to and from work. "And everyone bought in," Dr. DeWitt said. "That's why all credit for us being COVID-free has to go to our employees." 

3. Prioritized residents' and employees' emotional well-being. "We couldn't ignore the toll of isolation and separation, with no more community meals or activities," Dr. DeWitt said. "We made sure every room had a television and radio, and each resident was able to FaceTime or Zoom with their family on a weekly basis. We also brought in extra 'activities staff' to make sure people had one-on-one activities and exercise." 

Dr. DeWitt added that since the facility is small, with 29 residents, they were better able to manage and enforce safety measures. "I want to underscore that some facilities could have done everything right and still ended up with COVID-19," he told CBS. "I think the models that we have of long-term care facilities almost lend themselves to infection. When you talk about having 300 to 400 people and trying to control infection during a pandemic, that's a lose-lose situation right there." 

To read the full conversation, click here. 


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