AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis delivers an update regarding the city’s response to COVID-19.

City leaders addressed how they are working with state and national entities to curb the spread of the virus at local nursing homes.

As cases and even deaths rise at a local nursing home it’s sounding the alarm on the need for help.  And help is already here. The National Guard and Fire Department working with staff to help mitigate a growing problem.

Mayor Hardie Davis, Fire Chief Christopher James and the health department’s Dr. Stephen Goggans all spoke to what’s becoming a local COVID-19 hotspot, nursing homes.  

After deaths reported at Windermere, we learned that the National Guard has already been to Augusta to clean the facility along with teaching other nursing home staff members how to stay safe.  The fire department is also coming off of a visit to check on patient care.  

The mayor says it’s time for nursing homes to “gown up” and conduct practices similar to hospitals.

City leaders are working with the Departments of Public Health and Community Health who has jurisdiction over nursing homes to see if it’s time to be more aggressive about letting staff in and out. 

Now, some people are calling for Windermere to be closed and the residents to be moved, but leaders say that would be hard because they do not have the authority, community health does, and where would they go without risking infecting others?