Spread of COVID-19 impacts Falls County residents
Though there have been zero confirmed cases of coronavirus within Falls County, residents are still seeing an impact in their daily lives.
It began on Tuesday, March 10, when the news spread that the Falls Community Hospital and Clinic would be requiring patrons to enter through the Emergency Room. Thursday morning, Heritage House in Rosebud closed their doors to visitors, as did Golden Years Nursing Home in Marlin shortly thereafter. Over the course of the weekend, all four school districts in the county opted to extend Spring Break as well.
A sign was posted to the hospital doors upon closure, stating that "out of an overabundance of caution due to the current coronavirus situation, we are restricting entrance to FCHC to only one entrance via the Emergency Room."
Patrons, visitors, and staff alike must go the long way around in order to gain access to the medical facility. Currently, a questionnaire is being issued to each entrant, asking about travel and likelihood of previous COVID-19 contact. It is also mandatory that each person entering uses hand sanitizer, in order to protect the welfare of the hospital’s most elderly patients.
Heritage House Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Rosebud had a similar sign posted on their door by the morning of March 12, except that the assisted living facility decided to restrict visitors entirely until further notice.
“We are taking extraordinary measures in order to protect our fragile population and our staff,” the sign read.
The facility suggests phone calls to check on loved ones, according to the sign, along with stating that there are plans in the works to allow for telecommunication via FaceTime where not already available. The Heritage House Administrator can be reached at (254) 784-0023 for any questions and the main office can be reached at (254) 583-7904.
It was announced after noon that same day that Golden Years Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Marlin would be following the same protocol. The facility had been discouraging visitors prior to the announcement, with entrance restrictions and signs on the doors pleading with visitors to take extra precautions.
“For the safety of your loved ones and our employees, if you have signs/symptoms of illness, please do not enter the building,” it said.
The facility is “also adhering to guidance from State and Federal governments regarding visitation protocols, restrictions and exceptions,” according to a press release from SavaSeniorCare, the Administrative Offices for Golden Years.
“Furthermore, we are keeping in regular contact with our suppliers and vendors, as well as our pharmacy providers to ensure the Centers have access to supplies and medications necessary to care for the residents and patients they have the privilege to serve,” the release continued.
All of the medical facilities mentioned are continuing to monitor the ongoing situation and will be providing updated information and education to their facilities, staff, patients, residents and families, as such updates become available.
The first school district to announce extended closure was Rosebud-Lott ISD, on March 13, closely followed by Westphalia ISD. Both Marlin and Chilton ISD announced their closure on Saturday evening. Please refer to their respective websites for information on pandemic preparation plans, FAQs, and what’s coming next for each district.