UPDATE: AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – UPDATE: (04/13/20) 5:50 P.M. A representative from Windermere Health and Rehabilitation Center has confirmed more positive cases at the facility.

There are now 74 positive cases of COVID-19. 70 of those residents are isolated at the Center. 4 residents are being treated at the hospital and 4 have died.

20 staff members have been infected with COVID-19 as well.

A spokesperson from Windermere released the following statement on protocols being taken moving forward:

Before every shift, we assess the health of our staff and screen all staff members for respiratory illness, which includes a temperature check. In addition, we screen all outside essential health care professionals prior to entering the facility. If a staff member does not feel well, they have clear direction to stay home, and we have put in place a number of support mechanisms to help them during this time. 

We are learning more about an outbreak of the coronavirus at a nursing home in Augusta.  

The Augusta Fire Department is reporting 70 patients and 18 employees have tested positive at Winderemere Health and Rehabilition Center.

Of those 70 residents, 2 have died, 4 remain in the hospital and 64 are self-isolating at the facility.

Over the weekend more Personal Protective Equipment was taken to the facility.

Update 8:53 p.m.- Augusta Fire and Emergency Management has confirmed that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 at Windermere has risen to 71 patients and 18 employees.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., has confirmed that more than 70 people who either live at or work with the Windermere Health and Rehabilitation Center in Augusta have tested positive for COVID-19. Sixty-seven residents are positive and seven employees. 

The Mayor said, “The science has told us that our elderly population and those with underlying health care conditions could be the ones most infected or impacted by COVID-19.”

“In some ways, of course, it will be shocking to the community that to hear that we have this number cases in a facility, but it really should be viewed as an opportunity to identify those who are at risk and limit the transmission of the disease,” said AU Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Coule.

Right now, 67 residents that tested positive for coronavirus are in isolation at Windermere. Three patients have been taken to a hospital to be treated for COVID-19. Windermere is a 120-bed care facility for the elderly. Ninety-eight people live there. 

Dr. Coule explained, “An infection in you that causes you to get a fever and develop symptoms because you’re body is revving up to fight that, we don’t see that same response, in elderly patients. And so, in elderly patients instead, it kind of smolders for longer and they don’t rev up that same response and therefore infections can go undetected for a longer period of time.”

“We do know that, again, you’ve got upwards of 74, 75 people that have been infected by the virus. That includes employees at Windermere. What’s interesting is that many of the positive cases aren’t symptomatic. And so, I think that’s something we’re continually seeing in the country and certainly here in the community as well,” said Mayor Daivs.

Mayor Davis told us the first positive COVID-19 result came back Wednesday. Thursday, the Georgia Department of Health made a visit to Windermere. Windermere then called Augusta University Health to conduct testing for everyone at the nursing home. Friday, we received a tip about the positive COVID-19 results being more than 70. A spokesperson from Windermere confirmed it to be true that afternoon.

Mayor Davis said, “I just want to encourage all Augustans to be patient during this process. Not only to be patient but to know that we’re doing everything we can, both as local and state officials, to provide you with sound information and guidance. And at the same time, helping each of us to flatten this curve and stop the spread of the virus.”

Mayor Davis added at this time the National Guard has not been called to help. The state health department is investigating the COVID-19 outbreak at Windermere.

District Attorney Natalie Paine said she will follow up with the appropriate state agencies.