Jefferson County Plans to Set Up COVID-19 Nursing Home Unit

Illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the coronavirus. Source: CDC.

Jefferson County Commissioners today OK’d establishing a dedicated unit to care for nursing home patients who have COVID-19 in one location.

The commission authorized an agreement with the UAB board of trustees to establish the unit. The plan calls for Jefferson County to use a portion of its Cares Act funds for this project, which will put patients in a wing of Aspire Physical Recovery Center at Hoover.

“There’s a wing that they’re able to isolate from the rest of the nursing home in order to handle COVID patients there,” county manager Tony Petelos said.

The wing is autonomous from the rest of the nursing home, Petelos said, with its own entrance and ventilation system. Separate staff will be in place to serve those who have contracted the disease.

“UAB is heading this up,” the county manager said. “They’re working with all the nursing homes (and) with the hospitals. The plan is to have this facility so that if you have patients, we can isolate those patients into one area without treating them in the hospital and then sending them back to their nursing home.”

The initiative allots space for 25 nursing home patients. Commissioner Lashunda Scales asked whether there is a plan if the need for beds exceeds that 25.

“I think we can look at the trends and if the trends are (rising), then we can work with UAB and our partners to determine the remedy at that point,” Petelos said. “The 25 beds for the population that we have in nursing homes in Jefferson County should be sufficient. If it’s not, we will see the trend rising and then we can make adjustments after that point.”