May 25, 2020

PruittHealth confirms first death with COVID-19 at Franklin nursing home

(Franklin, GA) — A spokesperson with the Communications Department at Pruitthealth has confirmed the first death with COVID-19 at the Franklin Nursing Home.

The death is the first reported coronavirus nursing home death at the facility and in Heard County.

The Heard Citizen first became aware of the death when it was published as part of the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Report on May 7, 2020.

We did not immediately report this as at the time it was not being reported at the time by PruittHealth’s Coronavirus Status website nor the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Daily Status Report and we chose to await further confirmation.

The death remains uncounted by the GPDH at this time likely due to lag times in reporting in certain cases.

Hospitals and other medical providers are required to report new ‘cases’ of COVID-19 immediately but ‘deaths’ are not required to be reported.

In this case, health department officials say that the cross-checking of deaths with daily cases lists will at some point lead to an officially reported COVID-19 death by the GPDH.

As far as the information provided on PruittHealth’s website, we reached out to the communications department via email at 8:00 AM on Thursday, May 14 for confirmation of the death and clarification as to why the death was not listed on the company’s Coronavirus Status page.

We did not immediately receive a response, but the page was updated later that afternoon to reflect one death. This was prior to an email response from the company at 6:30 PM Thursday evening confirming the first deceased victim with the virus.

Below is the full statement released by PruittHealth Thursday evening on May 14:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our PruittHealth – Franklin patients. We offer our sincerest condolences to the patient’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. The Alert Code for this center remains Red, meaning visitors and nonessential personnel are prohibited from entering the location. As such, PruittHealth – Franklin has been strictly following enhanced infection control protocols, including increasing cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation, screening staff and patients daily, and restricting staff to only essential personnel. PruittHealth follows closely the guidance from public health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. We will continue to keep families of loved ones at PruittHealth – Franklin informed of updates and ask anyone with questions to call our Emergency Operations Center at 855-742-5983. We ask for your prayers for the patient’s loved ones during this difficult time, and out of respect for them and the patient’s privacy, we cannot share any more details at this time.” – Communications Department at Pruitthealth.

As of Tuesday evening, the company’s website indicates the Franklin nursing home is housing 70 residents of which 58 have tested negative. The site indicates there is still one positive case and one pending case and that 86% of the residents have been tested.

In a follow-up email, the company spokesperson was unable to confirm the exact date that the resident passed away.

The PruittHealth company website does not include staff in its own public reports, but the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Report released today indicates that no staff members have tested positive. The GDCH report indicates two positive cases and 69 residents in addition to the one death.

Once the death reaches the GPDH report, the deceased victim’s age and gender will be released along with an acknowledgment of any underlying health issues of the victim.

The deceased nursing home patient is the second officially confirmed COVID-19 death in Heard County. There have been a total of 20 confirmed cases in the county since the outbreak began.

Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for further COVID-19 updates as they become available.

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