Arkansas nursing home COVID-19 free after 79 residents affected

At the Danville facility, 79 residents and 51 staff members were affected by the virus.

DANVILLE, Ark — There are about 160 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Arkansas currently affected by the virus, but there’s some positive news!

Mitchell’s Nursing Home in Danville, whose name has been included in that list since the end of June, is finally COVID free.

Like many families across Arkansas, COVID-19 has kept the Stapleton’s apart. 

“We were concerned for dad, of course his health, because he’s elderly and has had some health issues,” Sheila Trusty said. 

The past several months, Trusty and her family have been communicating through the phone or window with her dad, Earl Stapleton. 

“Losing that interaction has been hard for him,” she said. 

This all started on June 22, according to Arkansas Healthcare Association Executive Director Rachel Bunch, when Mitchell’s Nursing Home got its first positive case of COVID-19.

“What we saw in that facility and also in the northwest Arkansas part of the state, is that we saw a lot of community spread and those communities were really affected,” she said. 

After months of hard work from the staff applying policies around isolation and droplet precautions, Bunch said the nursing home finally beat the virus on Aug. 5. 

“I know it was a long road and it’s so exciting for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel and show all of these recoveries for both their residents and their staff,” she said. 

A tough journey that affected 79 residents and 51 staff members, but Trusty said her 87-year-old dad stayed resistant. 

“He kept saying, ‘Someone needs to come congratulate me, I’m still not testing positive,'” she said. 

Throughout it all, Trusty said she never once worried that her dad wasn’t being taken care of properly with daily update calls from the Mitchell’s Nursing Home administrator. 

“I just feel confident that they handled the whole situation the very best they could’ve and we are just ready to get to the other side of it. I know they are too,” she said. 

The other side where the retired preacher will finally reunite with the ones he loves inside a place filled with unconditional support.

“They really love each other and it’s really a sense of family,” Bunch said. 

For now, Mitchell’s set date for allowing family members back in is Aug. 18. 

Trusty and her siblings already have their appointment made to go and see their dad again.