Georgia nursing homes see staggering increase in COVID-19 cases among residents, staff

ROSWELL, Ga. — Health officials say COVID-19 cases among residents and workers at Georgia nursing homes are at an all-time high.

Channel 2′s Christian Jennings has learned it’s creating a staffing crisis as workers are forced to stay home.

Joan Ceasar lives at a Roswell nursing home. She had COVID-19 in 2020 and her family said they don’t want to go through that again.

“With her health, obviously catching it again is a huge concern,” family member Angel Ceasar said.

New numbers released Thursday show the highest case counts in Georgia nursing homes since the start of the pandemic.

“She’s fully vaccinated. She’s had the booster. But as we know, you can still get it so that’s our biggest concern,” Ceasar said.

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Tony Marshall is the president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association and told Jennings that he was shocked to see the latest COVID-19 numbers released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, showing a major spike in nursing homes over the two-week period following Christmas.

“We saw an increase of over 1,600, almost 1,700 resident cases and an increase of approximately 3,000 staff cases,” Marshall said.

There is a silver lining though.

“Hospitalizations are significantly less and there have been only two deaths during that two-week period,” Marshall said.

Now the crisis is centered around staffing.

“What we are seeing from our centers is they are shutting down wings, they are limiting admissions or eliminating admissions from hospitals,” Marshall said.

The Ceasar family said they are worried now about whether there will be another shutdown where families won’t be able to visit nursing homes.

Marshall said he doesn’t think that will happen.

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