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Local senior living centers making changes in response to potential virus

NATCHEZ — As COVID-19 cases continue to multiply throughout the United States and the world, local organizations are taking preventive measures in an effort to limit the potential spread of the disease.

Elderly people and people with compromised immunity systems or preexisting conditions are most at risk from the virus, officials said, and administrators at local nursing homes and assisted living centers said they are following Mississippi Health Department and CDC guidelines in their facilities to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.

Jeff Phillips, administrator of Adams County Nursing Center in Natchez said all visitors must have a screening at the nurse’s station before entering the facility.

Visitors’ temperatures are taken and if they have a temperature they are not admitted, Phillips said.

Visitors also are asked if they have been to any areas that have coronavirus and if so they are not allowed in. Visiting hours also end now at 5 p.m., Phillips said.

Likewise, Lisa Welch, executive director at Magnolia Village Assisted Living facility in Natchez, said her facility has taken preventive measures to help limit potential spread of COVID-19.

“Elderly are particularly at risk, and we are following the CDC regulations and have reduced our visiting hours,” Welch said, adding Magnolia Village Assisted Living is typically an open community meaning people can visit anytime they want. “So we went from an open community to a 9 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.) visiting hours and we are down to one entrance.”

Welch said Magnolia has posted signs at the entrance now advising people not to enter if they have any symptoms of a cold or cough.

“When (visitors) come in we do a quick screening and make sure everybody is using hand sanitizers,” Welch said. “We’ll go to taking temperatures as soon as the CDC thinks that is a necessary precaution to take.”

Magnolia’s screening process currently includes asking visitors questions.

“We ask if you have been out of the country or if you have been on a cruise ship in the last 14 days or had any contact with anyone who has been out of the country or been on a cruise ship,” Welch said, “and if you are showing any signs or symptoms of colds, cough, anything like that. We are really hoping it does not hit our community and our main concern is keeping our elders safe and corona free.”