Rutledge nursing home has 91 residents test positive for COVID-19

Regional News

RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Ninety-one out of the 96 residents at Ridgeview Terrace of Life Care have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement on Thursday, the nursing home said they are committed to following the safety guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health department. It is unknown from the statement as to how many residents are currently positive for the coronavirus.

“We are staying in consistent communication with the families of our residents, and we always welcome their questions and contact,” nursing home executive director Jennifer Henderson said in a statement. “We continue to work in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the county health department and the local health department and will follow the guidance they provide.”

According to the TDH’s Long Term Care Facility Data webpage the facility had 15 of its 96 residents test positive for COVID-19 during its latest update. The date of most recent positive case, according to the state, is Oct. 20.

Four residents are currently in the hospital and two residents have passed away. Thirty-five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, 12 of whom have recovered and returned to work.

Carrie Boley said her 86-year-old grandmother, Jonnie Pfoff, was one of the residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

Boley said she started to get phone calls about positive cases at the facility a little less than two weeks ago.

“They would call me and say, ‘we have one case,’ or, ‘we have two cases,’ or, ‘we have three cases,'” Boley said.

Carrie Boley with her grandmother Jonnie Pfoff

On Oct. 21, she got the call that her grandmother tested positive.

“I was in shock, I was upset. I only remember bits and pieces of the conversation,” Boley said.

She said she tried to call the facility every day afterward, trying to get more specific information about her grandmother’s case.

Boley said she wanted to know if it was a routine test, if Pfoff had any symptoms and what kind of care Pfoff would be able to receive as COVID-19 positive. She said her grandmother has dementia, diabetes and is nearly blind.

“They have to feed her, because she can’t see to eat, so then I wanted to know is someone still going to feed her? Is someone still going to bathe her,” Boley said.

Boley said she called for a few days, but wasn’t able to talk with anyone.

She decided to call the state department of health, and a few minutes after, she finally got a call back from Ridgeview Terrace staff.

“They just assured me that they were super busy, and you know, it was going to take them a while to be able to return people’s phone calls and answer their questions, at which time I thought was a little strange because I thought, ‘okay, if there’s only four cases, why are they so busy,'” Boley asked.

At that point, she thought her grandmother was only the 4th resident to test positive. She had no idea a larger outbreak was occurring.

“But I now know that they stopped because they were obviously dealing with an outbreak that I did not know anything about,” Boley said.

Boley found out her grandmother didn’t have any symptoms, but she still has no idea what comes next.

Boley said her grandmother had been living at Ridgeview Terrace since April 2018 and never had any issues until COVID-19.

She said at this point she wouldn’t move Pfoff because she has had such great care, and because it might be too difficult with her dementia. Boley has no idea how the virus spread in the first place.

She said she’s been told staff wears PPE while they’re working at the facility and no visitors have been allowed since the start of the pandemic.

Boley said the only thing she can think of is poor ventilation. Right now, all she can do is pray everyone will get through this outbreak.

“I’m worried for her, I’m worried for the other residents, I’m worried for the staff members. You know, it’s scary. I can only imagine how they feel going in there to take care of a bunch of people that they know have tested positive and then they have to go home to their families,” Boley said.

She also hopes Life Care will be more open to their residents’ families about what’s going on.

“As a family member of someone who’s there, we need to know what’s going on. We need to be kept up to date and informed,” Boley said.

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