The pandemic has ravaged nursing homes across the country, with deaths in these facilities accounting for the majority of deaths in the U.S. Nearly 19,000 positive cases of coronavirus have been in the Black community in Maryland, and those elderly residents are part of the most vulnerable population. But one nursing home in Maryland is making headlines as it has not had one single positive case since the pandemic began. The Maryland Baptist Aged Home in West Baltimore, the oldest African American-owned and operated nursing home facility in the state, is a small facility with almost 70 residents and staff.
The home’s director and pastor of First Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Reverend Doctor Derrick Dewitt, attributes their success to implementing safety measures early in the pandemic, even before the president, the state’s governor or the Centers For Disease Control put restrictions into place. Their protocols in the 100-year-old facility included restricting visitors and vendors from entering the home, stocking up on personal protective equipment, asking nurses to limit their exposure to family members, eliminating community meals and creating activities and social interaction alternatives for residents so they wouldn’t feel isolated.
“In a nursing home, we always have our standard precautions, but that was not enough to maintain the safety of the residents,” said Josephine Mungin, the facility’s director of nursing.
Dewitt says the home’s success is a team effort and doesn’t expect to loosen restrictions any time soon.
“We believe in a higher power, and we know God has blessed this place. He has blessed this place,” Dewitt said.
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