'A monster’: Kings Mountain facility battling largest nursing home virus outbreak in NC

'A monster’: Kings Mountain facility battling largest nursing home virus outbreak in NC

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — White Oak Manor in Kings Mountain has the largest nursing home outbreak in the state.

Of the facility’s 154 beds, 110 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 20 have died from the virus, according to health officials.

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As of Wednesday, 47 positive residents have been moved to a separate hall with special partitions so that the air from that area doesn’t travel to any other part of the facility.

The nursing home’s administrator, Stacey Sanford, told Channel 9′ Ken Lemon that cases have started to drop and workers are hopeful they have the situation under control, but they’re still fighting a monster.

“This is a war zone we are working in,” Sanford said. “This is heartbreaking. It’s hard to see our residents getting sick from this.”

Sanford was one of the 58 staff members at the facility who tested positive.

“We pray hard every day that it will hurry up and go away," she said.

According to Sanford, the facility was COVID-19 free for 4 months, then she said cases started spreading like wildfire in mid-August -- seeing as many as 40 new cases in a week.

“Once it gets into your facility it can take off and it did. It dominoed in my facility and that’s what a monster does. A monster can grow, and this monster has grown in many aspects,” she said.

78-year-old Patsy Whiteside was one of those patients who tested positive last month. Her daughter, Mary Whiteside, spoke with Ken on the phone.

“I remember coming home one night and thinking that she wasn’t going to make it through the night and thinking I was going to have to plan a funeral,” Mary Whiteside said.

She told Channel 9 that her mother was placed in a COVID wing and applauds staff for nursing her back to health.

“I really trust having my mom there,” Mary Whiteside said.

Sanford said that all staff members are checked for illness and symptoms once a day. Residents are checked three times a day and infectious disease teams come for regular visits.

Last week, the facility had five new positive cases after 19 the week before.

“We are in the healing stages,” Sanford said.

The Cleveland County Health Department said staff has diligently followed CDC and state health guidelines and said health workers visiting regularly “have not determined any areas in which they are not complying with guidance and mitigation procedures.”

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