New London nursing home now requires visitors to be tested for COVID-19 following uptick in city’s cases

Coronavirus

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– A New London nursing home is taking an extra step to try to keep residents safe during this pandemic. All visitors are now required to be tested for COVID-19.

Each staff member at Beechwood Post Acute Transitional Care and Long Term Care has a reminder of good safety practices hanging alongside their badge.

“Trying to keep COVID out is about a whole bunch of things,” said Bill White, Administrator at Beechwood Post Acute Transitional Care and Long Term Care. “Little things and big things.”

Those things like using hand sanitizers, wearing your mask, and staying six feet apart are listed on all their badges. Beechwood is also one of the first of these types of facilities to require visitors to get tested for COVID-19 before they can come in. 

“I don’t recall a single complaint and even with this,” said White.

Requiring the tests within 72 hours of a visit was first recommended by the Department of Public Health when New London became a hot spot for COVID cases.

“That made a lot of sense to us,” said White. “We’ve been as cautious as possible through all of this.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Barbara Gillingham, who tries to visit her friend who is a resident at Beechwood three times a week. “They need to protect the elderly. They’re absolutely the most vulnerable.”

Up until recently most visits were done outdoors but with cooler weather more visits are expected inside. Staff are tested weekly and if there is a positive result all residents are tested. 

“It’ scary stuff,” said White. “It really is.”

So far nine staff members and three residents have tested positive for COVID-19. All have been asymptomatic except one staff member who started to feel sick while she was on vacation.

None of the residents have been sick.

“I’m humble and grateful to say we’ve not had any deaths,” said White.

Beechwood is family owned.

“My father is the owner and we… this is personal so I first walked through that door when I was seven years old,” said White.

He says being vigilant is something they do and everyone can do.

“As people watch this, please do those things yourself because the more of that everyone does the safer these residents will be because the safer the community will be,” said White.

He is most proud of the fact that even though they have had COVID cases it has not spread.

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