State investigates Robertsdale nursing home after COVID-19 outbreak

More than 60 residents and employees test positive


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Alabama Department of Public Health is conducting an infection control survey at a Robertsdale nursing home and rehabilitation facility after more than 40 residents and 20 employees tested positive for COVID-19 over a two-week period.

Lisa Pezent, long term care director with ADPH, said state surveyors have been on site at Robertsdale Rehabilitation and HealthCare Center on U.S. 90 in Robertsdale since Tuesday, Jan. 26.

“This is an ongoing investigation and as such we are not releasing specific details at this time,” she said. “I can tell you it has to do with infection control.”

Extensive guidelines regarding infection control are set by the Centers for Medicine & Medicaid Services, based on parameters and frequency set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Facilities must test residents and facility staff, including individuals providing services under arrangement and volunteers, for COVID-19.

Findings of the investigation will be reviewed and released to the public once the review process is completed, Pezent said.

In a statement issued through the Alabama Nursing Home Association, Ball HealthCare Services Inc., owner of the facility, said over the past few weeks the facility has received notification of positive COVID-19 test results for 44 residents and 24 employees. As of Feb. 1, 12 residents and eight employees remained positive.

“The residents are receiving appropriate medical care and the employees are not working,” according to the statement. “The Baldwin County Health Department, Alabama Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Safety Network have all been notified. We have also informed all our residents, their family members and our employees.”

Robertsdale Rehabilitation & HealthCare Center is restricting visitation and following “appropriate screening and testing protocols in accordance with the guidelines from the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medical Services (CMS),” according to the statement. The facility is participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program through a partnership with CVS Pharmacy.

“The first round of vaccines has been administered at the facility, with the second scheduled in the near future,” according to the statement. “The health, safety and well-being of our residents and staff are our top priority. We appreciate the understanding and patience of the residents’ family members and want them to know our staff members are committed to continuing our present level of care for their loved ones.”

Robertsdale Rehabilitation and HeathCare Services is one of 10 facilities owned by Ball HealthCare Services based in Mobile.

The facility opened in 2001 and includes a 152-room, long-term care facility, a secure wing for dementia patients and a specialized facility for patients with respiratory issues.

In addition to 25 semi-private rooms, the facility expanded in 2014 to include 10 private rooms with a fully staffed kitchen allowing patients to receive in-room dining.

Rezoning was approved by the Robertsdale City Council in 2016 for an additional expansion of the facility. Plans included a hospice center, assisted care facilities and various doctors’ offices.