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Islands of protection in a sea of COVID-19: Dozens of senior living facilities in Georgia reporting zero cases

State numbers show that as of Wednesday night, nearly one-third of all long-term care facilities in Georgia report no positive tests among residents, so far.

ATLANTA — Hundreds of seniors in Georgia have been ravaged, so far, by COVID-19 scorching through 71 percent of the nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the state.

But Ethel Scott’s senior care facility in Cartersville is, relatively speaking, an island of protection in a sea of COVID-19.

Ethel Scott lives in Highlands Senior Living, which reports one infection and one death, so far, since last month, out of about three dozen residents.

Ms. Scott’s son, Brian Scott, is praising the facility for locking down early to try to save lives.

RELATED: At least 80 long-term care facilities in Georgia have COVID-19 cases, governor says

Credit: WXIA

In fact, state records show that, so far, out of 261 long-term care facilities in Georgia with at least 25 beds, 85 of them—32.6 percent--report no residents have tested positive.

And 46 facilities—17.6 percent—report one resident has tested positive.

173 facilities in the state —66.3 percent—report zero deaths from COVID-19.

Ethel Scott’s home, Highlands Senior Living, is in Bartow County, northwest of Atlanta, which is one of the counties with Georgia’s highest numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Ms. Scott, nearing 90 years old, is okay.

“They just took very early precautions to shut the facility down,” her son, Brian Scott, said Wednesday. “They just totally shut the facility down, and have been very conscientious and have done an outstanding job” preventing the virus from spreading.

RELATED: National Guard troops clean Brookhaven senior living facility

Credit: Brian Scott
Charles and Ethel Scott

Brian Scott says he prays for seniors living in the dozens of other facilities where the virus has spread as if unchecked.

“Some facilities are really having a lot of trouble,” he said, with residents and their families “just having a lot of stress, and it’s been very difficult.”

As of Wednesday night, records posted in Atlanta on the Georgia Department of Community Health website show that 186 long-term care facilities in Georgia--71.3 percent--are reporting that at least one of their residents or staff members have been infected, so far.

Scott, who hasn’t been able to visit his mother for weeks because of the lock down, talks with her every day, and said he feels a kinship with every resident and every family in Georgia who are worried—frightened--about where the virus might strike next, like a tornado, skipping over some and slamming into others.

“Keep praying. It’s eventually going to pass, God is bigger than the coronavirus, so just keep hanging in there," said Scott.

11Alive is working to reach administrators with Highlands Senior Living, and with Georgia's Department of Community Health, for comment about the prevention and precautions that have proven to be most effective in group residences, and about whether efforts to combat the virus in the facilities statewide have resulted in any downward trends, yet.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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