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Villas of Jackson responds to coronavirus epidemic

The coronavirus epidemic has changed how the Villas of Jackson is handling visitors, resident activities and cleaning.

Administrator Carl Knott said they are doing everything they can to make sure the disease doesn’t make it to their residents. “We don’t have it here, and we don’t want it here,” Knott said.

Knott said they are on “strict lockdown,” and no visitors are allowed in the facility. Employees and crucial outside staff have to complete a nine-question checklist, wash their hands for 20 seconds and take their temperature before they come into the building.

“With all health care facilities – if staff have a fever, you don’t work; if a resident has fever, they stay in their room,” Knott said. “That’s just what you have to do.”

Christie Mason, director of marketing, admissions and senior services, added that packages are left at the door and have to be cleaned before given to residents.

“When we get packages, we Lysol the boxes, let them sit, and then when it’s appropriate we take it to the residents,” Mason explained.

In addition to employees taking their temperature, the Villas staff does daily temperature checks of the residents. Mason said the residents have been great during this trying time and help the staff keep them all safe.

“If our residents start to not feel well, they will tell you because they don’t want to get anyone else sick,” Mason said. “It could just be the weather, but they let us know, and we really appreciate that. That’s why we say we have the best people.”

Family members have stayed in contact with residents by FaceTime or waving from outside a window. While the windows have to remain closed to keep residents safe, family members have communicated through signs or phone calls while on the other side of the glass.

While there are no longer communal dining or communal activities, Mason said they still try to keep the residents entertained as much as possible during the lockdown. For instance, they now play Bingo, with each resident playing from the entry of their apartments. Mason added that by doing it this way, the residents stay six feet away from each other.

Knott said they now spend extra hours cleaning the facilities. “It’s nonstop wiping down stuff here,” he said. “Our carpets are going to be nice and white because of all the bleach.”

The Villas is following guidelines from the Missouri Center for Disease Control, as well as the Federal CDC website. “The Missouri CDC information line has been a tremendous resource” Knott said.

Knott added that local support has also been wonderful during these trying times. Broadway Pharmacy is making hand sanitizer for the facility and local volunteers have made and donated masks for the Villas. Also, several family members of our residents have donated needed items.

“Our community support has been tremendous, Knott said. “ We could not be more thankful.”

[Editor’s Note: The article on the Villas of Jackson that appeared in the progress edition last week was prepared before the coronavirus epidemic reached the United States, and the article reflects the Villas’ services and procedures during non-emergency times.]

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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