LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - UPDATE: High Hope Care Center now has twelve deaths caused by COVID-19, LDH reported Monday. Nursing home numbers are only updated on Mondays.
Prisons and nursing homes are two of the places where COVID-19 outbreaks are most often seen.
This week we learned nearly half the reported COVID-19 deaths in Calcasieu Parish were nursing home residents.
The battle with the coronavirus started at High Hope Care Center in Mar., when they had their first resident test positive.
Since then, Beth Broussard, who’s one of the owners, says they have worked diligently to stop the spread. However, “it’s like walking on the rim of the Grand Canyon with a blindfold on,” said Broussard.
And she says they used every measure they could.
“We brought in a company that cleans operating rooms and sterilizes it just to make sure wherever that virus was we could stop it,” she said.
And Broussard points out, the coronavirus didn’t originate in nursing homes.
“We have the sickest of the sick. I mean when our people went to the hospitals and tested positive, they came back and we were taking care of them. It wasn’t like, 'oh, we got them sick and then sent them off for somebody else. The virus didn’t start in the nursing home. It was in the community and came in," said Broussard.
She says just one of the challenges was getting personal protective equipment. Though, she says they never ran out, thanks to West Cal Cam hospital.
“We spent tens of thousands of dollars sending money over to China, to get them to send us the equipment.”
And Broussard says they have been paying a caterer to provide meals-- to reduce risk.
“I’ve got a big family, all my children were delivering food. My husband and I were going out there. I pulled my friends in, they were helping us clean and do all of the things we were qualified to do to help leave some of the pressure off the staff.”
And she says they followed all the advice and guidance they could get.
“I don’t think you can point the blame at anybody. This virus came in and we basically said often we were writing the book as we went.”
Broussard says they work well with the families of residents and do everything they can think of to help them communicate with their families and feel a sense of community. She says the staff loves their residents and that it’s been emotionally devastating.
“I wish the community could see and appreciate everything that the staff did. Every time we lose a resident it is gut wrenching. I mean, I walked into many rooms when a resident was passing and the staff was sitting on the floor, holding their hand in tears,” she said.
And Broussard wants families to know, “if they passed away in the nursing home, they were not alone. They absolutely were not alone. They were surrounded by people who loved them and cared for them."
It’s uncertain when families and friends of nursing home residents throughout the state will again be allowed inside facilities to visit them.
The other nursing home with eight deaths is DeQuincy Care Center. They have not responded to our request for comment.
To review the State’s numbers of nursing home cases and deaths click here.