GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Nursing homes are trying to stop coronavirus from sweeping through the most vulnerable. In North Carolina, there have been 13,966 cases and 1,644 deaths.
The state is reporting outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Gaston County, including Stanley Total Living Center. The outbreak has impacted 4 staff members and 2 residents.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down visits, leaving many families blocked from seeing their loved ones in person.
Friday afternoon, residents from the area held a gathering to pray for those dealing with the virus.
For Tommy Bumgarner, there is no love like the love he has for God and his wife.
"The depth of love goes deeper than you'd ever imagine and when you love someone explicitly and totally, then it's going to work," Bumgarner said.
Tommy and his wife Donna, have been married for 58 years. But 8 years ago, life took a cruel turn. Donna was diagnosed with dementia.
"In a sense, life is like a poker game, you have to play the cards you've been dealt," said Bumgarner.
His wife lives at Stanley Total Living Center, where there's an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
Donna has the virus.
"Difficult at best, haven't seen her since March," Bumgarner said. "I can go through the window and see her, but she can't communicate."
Stanley Total Living Center sent this statement saying:
Since March 13th, facility staff have done everything possible to keep COVID-19 out of the facility as best as it could. Management staff have been in very close contact with the Gaston County Health Department from the very beginning to ensure that all appropriate steps have been taken and all new guidance has been immediately implemented since that time. All guidance as it has been given by the CDC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and NCDHHS has also been followed since early March.
Despite taking serious precautions very early on, we have seen a growing number of positive cases in our county and surrounding counties. While we have prayed daily that our residents and staff would not be affected, we have also prepared ourselves for the inevitable simply due to the extremely contagious nature of the virus. Facility staff live outside the building walls and even when doing everything possible to protect themselves, there is exposure everywhere they go—they must shop in grocery stores, they have spouses who also work outside the home, and they have children in school. In spite of everything staff has done to keep this virus out, the facility is now unfortunately experiencing a significant outbreak of COVID-19 among both its staff and residents.
At this time, we are doing the best we can to continue to provide the best care possible to our residents who have tested positive as well as doing everything to the best of our ability to keep the virus from spreading to the other residents who are currently not experiencing any symptoms. We want the families of our residents to know that we are continuing to work hard to care for their loved ones who we all love as if they are our own family and that we appreciate their continued support and prayers.
"Inside here there is a battleground going on these folks are in a fight, we can do nothing except pray," Bumgarner said.
So that's what this group choose to do because there was nothing else they could do but come together and pray.
"We believe god's going to show up," Bumgarner said.