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What senior and assisted-living communities are doing to guard against coronavirus
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Executive Director at Manor Lake Drema Thompson talks at the assisted living home in Gainesville on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, in this file photo. - photo by Austin Steele

The coronavirus scare has especially put senior and assisted-living communities on guard, with local facilities sanitizing residents’ rooms, hallway handrails and other surfaces.

“Of course, we always do hand washing and make sure our staff is always on top of that,” said Drema Thompson, executive director of Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care in Gainesville.

“Anybody who shows any signs of sickness, we’re going to have them checked out, and we’re advising employees who are sick to stay home,” she said.

Otherwise, Thompson checks Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines daily.

Kandi Locklear, administrator of Ashton Senior Living in Gainesville, also is following CDC guidelines.

“No. 1, we don’t let anyone who is sick come in. Everyone needs to come to the front desk before they are allowed to go anywhere else in the building,” she said.

“We have to make sure (visitors) sanitize their hands and … (that) they haven’t been out of the country or on an airplane or anything like that,” Locklear said. “If (visitors have traveled), we do a little bit more of an interview.”

Employees also “are wiping down everything with Lysol, including door handles, all the counters and in the common areas,” she said.

Precautions have been in place already, but “we’re being a lot more diligent about it,” Locklear said.

For example, “we are sanitizing residents’ rooms daily instead of three times a week,” she said.

As for Ashton residents themselves, many of whom are in their late 80s or early 90s, coronavirus isn’t a big topic, Locklear said.

“They’re more concerned with something they know is probably more realistic for them, such as the flu, cold and pneumonia,” she said.

Acts Retirement-Life Communities, which operates Lanier Village Estates in North Hall, released a statement late Tuesday, March 3, concerning the issue.

“To date, there have been no reported cases or interruption of services resulting from coronavirus within our communities, and residents and employees are receiving ongoing communication updates from our corporate and campus leadership teams,” the statement says.

Also, “we are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation very closely to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures to protect our communities, residents and employees.”

The company’s health care team, “in cooperation with state and local partners, has been diligent in enacting precautions within all Acts communities,” according to the statement. “These measures include reinforcing infection control procedures and monitoring the flow of traffic at each community.”

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