Staff members at an assisted-living facility outside Atlanta are staying there 24/7 to help residents

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 06, 2020 08:31 PM
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Staff at a Georgia assisted-living facility are sheltering in place with 500 residents to help keep them safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the end of March, employees at Park Springs assisted-living facility, located outside of Atlanta, have been living at the on its 61-acre campus, according to the Associated Press via the Washington Post.

One of the staff members, Nadia Williams, missed her sister's wedding to stay on-site with residents. She instead watched the event over a Zoom call.

“I wish I was there, definitely,” she told the AP. “I wish I was able to help her get ready.”

The shelter-in-place started when four employees and a resident tested positive for the deadly disease, which has proven especially dangerous for older adults and people with underlying conditions.

While nursing homes can limit visitors and screen them for fevers before entering the building, Park Springs officials felt like they had to do more to protect residents.

“We knew we had to do something drastic," Donna Moore, the chief operating officer of the company that operates the facility, explained to the AP.

Credit: Courtesy Park Springs

The 70 workers currently staying on the campus only make up just over 20 percent of Park Springs' typical workforce, which normally has 300 people on staff. Most of them have placed on furlough or are now working from home, according to the AP.

But the staff is adjusting to life at the facility. Justin Craft, who is in charge of food service, has dinner with his family by eating with them on opposite sides of a fence.

“It’s our new normal, but we’re used to it by now,” his partner, Crystal Craft, told the outlet.

Their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed by residents.

“I expect my family to jump in and help me out when something is somewhat of a crisis in my life. I don’t expect that from the people who are providing services for me,” an emotional resident said.

According to the New York Times, Georgia has seen at least 29,709 cases and 1,295 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon. The United States as a whole has seen more than 1.2 million cases and at least 72,618 deaths.

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