C.A.V.E. reports no criminal activity at nursing homes despite slight increase in positive COVID-19 cases, deaths


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Local nursing homes continue to battle COVID-19.  And during that time, the local C.A.V.E. Task force is keeping a watchful eye to make sure no criminal activity is taking place.  

We have been watching COVID-19 cases and deaths at nursing and personal care homes since the pandemic started.  The numbers continue to rise at some of those places and we wanted to make sure they are held accountable.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Pennington spoke with NewsChannel 6 about the latest numbers and whether there is any foul play. She said, “What we haven’t seen at this point is anything to indicate that there is criminal activity going on.”

Pennington is part of The C.A.V.E. Task Force, a group created by DA Natalie Paine in 2017 to oversee Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly.  That group, as the CDC reports, is at the highest risk for COVID-19 cases and even deaths.  Pennington said since there are no local facilities committing crimes at this point, they are just watching and taking concerns from the community.  There’s really no list of daily requirements.

“I think the problem is that the CDC requirements are changing so much so it’s hard to say that you have to follow this specific requirement when you’re looking at what they need to do on a daily basis,” Assistant DA Pennington said.

PruittHealth Augusta Hills is one of those places in constant communication with C.A.V.E.  

“I’ll typically just reach out so that they are aware.  I’d like to make sure that we are as transparent as possible,” said PruittHealth Augusta Hills Administrator Ashlyn Broderick.

NewsChannel 6 told you about a local lawyer working with families of residents at one nursing home where deaths have been reported.  

Georgia’s Community Health Services reported Tuesday night that Windermere Health and Rehab in Augusta is up to 11 deaths.  That’s three more than last week during our report and one additional staff member who tested positive.

Thomson Health and Rehab reported 21 residents who tested positive, that’s three more than one week ago.  

And Brentwood Health and Rehab, which went from zero to 11 in two weeks, stayed the same. Syl-view Health Care Center in Screven County only saw one more case among its residents.

PruittHealth Augusta Hills has no confirmed cases among residents.  But two staff members are infected.  A change has been made to prevent workers from going from one facility to another and they encourage social distancing.  

But Broderick said talking with family members is important so they know what’s going on during this period of quarantine.

“I still get calls from one of our families on a daily basis,” she said.  But we also have them doing video chats so they can see us and their loved ones live.”

Pennington added the DA’s office is available to help nursing homes with PPE if they are having trouble. She also said the public can report any concerns. They can be reached at (706) 821-1150.

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