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Cherry Springs Village cited for deficiencies before Covid outbreak

Four North Carolina long-term care facilities with substantial outbreaks of the new coronavirus have a recent history of deficiencies in inspections, according to state records, Carolina Public Press reports.


State health officials on Wednesday reported outbreaks of two or more cases in at least 20 long-term care facilities. Carolina Public Press asked the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday for a list of the names of facilities with outbreaks and the number of cases, but as of Thursday morning, DHHS has neither acknowledged nor complied with this request.

However, CPP has gathered information about four of the larger outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at long-term care facilities and in each case reviewed their recent reports.

Cherry Springs Village, an adult care home in Henderson County, has at least 23 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, a spokesperson for the residence has acknowledged. Cherry Springs Village also received citations for multiple problems, including one in November 2019 for “failure to control vermin,” in this case bedbugs.

Pine Forest Rest Home, an adult care home in Northampton County, has at least 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a spokesperson for the Northampton County Health Department told CPP on Tuesday. Last year North Carolina inspectors cited the facility for multiple problems, including “failure to follow CDC guidelines to prevent infection.”

Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Moore County, has at least 30 confirmed cases, the county Health Department said Wednesday. Federal inspections over the last year show the facility has been cited for multiple problems with tracking patient care and handling CPAP breathing devices for patients with severe respiratory problems.

PruittHealth-Carolina Point, a nursing home in Orange County, has more than 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in staff and residents, county Health Department officials confirmed Wednesday. Recent inspection records describe a series of problems at the facility, including failure to report a sexual abuse allegation to law enforcement.

On Sunday, April 5, the Henderson County Health Department reported that there were 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified in residents and staff at Cherry Springs Village on Clear Creek Road.

“Those individuals are being treated in isolation by health professionals, and the community is under quarantine until further notice,” James Harvey, a spokesperson for Cherry Springs Village, said in a statement.

Harvey emphasized the facility’s adherence to strict health guidelines from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent infections.

Asked by CPP about the facility’s recent history of deficient inspections, Harvey responded in an email, “We immediately corrected these deficiencies.” He added that those points were irrelevant to the new infection control measure the facility put in place in February.

“Cherry Springs Village continues to follow strict infection control protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment when providing care, wearing masks at all times and changing clothes and following decontamination procedures each time they enter or exit the building.”

The facility issued a press release with a posed image of staff members, announcing them as “heroes,” on Wednesday.

Asked by CPP whether this might be perceived as a cynical marketing move during the crisis, Harvey responded that the company wasn’t doing any marketing currently.

“Right now, we have genuinely heroic staff in our communities all over the state of North Carolina trying to prevent COVID-19 from spreading,” he said. “They are saving people’s lives at the risk of their own.”

An inspection at Cherry Springs Village in November 2019 came in response to a complaint about bedbugs. The surveyor who completed the inspection wrote that the facility was out of compliance with sanitation rules requiring “effective measures” to keep out vermin.

“Interview with the administrator revealed a current bedbug problem has been ongoing since October of 2018,” the surveyor wrote on Nov. 22. Records indicated multiple rooms had been treated on at least two occasions for bedbugs, but the surveyor observed live bedbugs. The facility agreed to pest control treatment in additional rooms, plus ongoing treatment.
The report also found that the facility was not effectively cleaning rooms, which was interfering with resolving the infestation. The surveyors described the observation of 15 dead bedbugs that had not been cleaned up in one room.

An annual inspection in September cited the facility for multiple issues with cleanliness and food storage and labeling. Among other issues, an ice machine that had built up a black residue wasn’t being cleaned because different staff members thought it was someone else’s responsibility.

North Carolina rates Cherry Springs Village with 3 out of 4 stars, which has been consistent since 2016 despite the deficiencies cited in inspection reports.

Cherry Springs Village is owned by Hickory-based Affinity Living Group, a for-profit operator of long-term care facilities in eight states.