On July 22, the PruittHealth Toccoa long-term-care facility returned to what the company identifies as "code red" status in regards to COVID-19 safety and security measures. There are currently 52 patient/staff cases of COVID-19 at the Toccoa center.
"PruittHealth – Estill (S.C.) and PruittHealth – Toccoa (Ga.) are now operating at Alert Code Red status, with at least one presumptive positive COVID-19 case in the centers or transferred to a local hospital," stated a press release posted on July 22 to the company's website. This press release was not provided to local media outlets, nor was notification sent to media contacts regarding the change in security'/safety status.
On July 29, PruittHealth also placed their Forsyth, Valdosta, Swaisnboro and Macon facilities on Code Red status, as well as a facility in Harrisburg, N.C.
ConnectLocal became aware of the updated status while researching possible sources of four new COVID-19 fatalities reported for Stephens County residents by the Georgia Department of Public Health over a 24-hour period this week.
Under the Code Red status "visitors and nonessential personnel are prohibited from entering the location. PruittHealth - Toccoa has been strictly following enhanced infection control protocols. These include increasing cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation, as well as screening staff and patients daily," a PruittHealth Communications Department representative told ConnectLocal yesterday, July 29. "We actively monitor staffing levels, appropriate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), and have made HVAC improvements to support clean air technology, such as the recently installed air scrubber system. We also have built isolation units to work to contain the virus."
On May 15, PruittHealth de-escalated the Toccoa facility from Code Red to Code Amber status, announcing that there were no positive staff or patient cases at the Toccoa facility, which had been on Code Red status since April 8 when a patient had died due to complications from COVID-19.
A review of company reports, as well as the Georgia Department of Community Health's Long Term Care COVID-19 report, shows that, since June 28, one additional death related to COVID-19 has been reported at the PruittHealth Toccoa facility. No specific date of the death was provided by company officials when contacted by ConnectLocal on July 29.
PruittHealth officials did confirm that there are (as of July 29) 26 patients and 26 employees who are considered current confirmed COVID-19 cases.
"The two COVID-19 deaths at PruittHealth - Toccoa are cumulative, and the 26 patients and 26 employees who tested positive for COVID-19 are current," PruittHealth officials told ConnectLocal.
ConnectLocal will update this story with any new information provided by PruittHealth. ConnectLocal is also still researching information on the circumstances surrounding the four COVID-19 fatalities recently reported by the GDPH.