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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.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

Adult beverage company Hennessy has launched a $3 million grant initiative to help small businesses and nonprofits struggling during the pandemic. The new campaign, called Unfinished Business, is looking for industrial and social entrepreneurs to donate capital and other resources to help their fellow business owners who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Eligible businesses can submit their applications starting now until Wednesday, July 1st by visiting UnfinishedBusiness.US.

As the U.S. has hit another grim milestone of more than 2.5 million coronavirus cases, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Trump administration to extend the public health emergency declaration that is set to expire on July 25.

If the declaration expires, the state of New York could lose more than $1 billion and lose assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Schumer said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging Trump to wear a mask and said she believes a federal mandate on mask wearing is “long overdue”. Earlier this week, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that he would make wearing face masks mandatory for all Americans during the pandemic.

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that he expects the spread of the virus to continue to worsen for weeks although the U.S. is doing more testing.

And while the recent increase in cases is affecting younger populations, Frieden said “what starts in young adults doesn’t stay in young adults.”

According to a new federal intelligence report, the U.S. is ‘likely’ to see shortage of pharmaceutical drugs if coronavirus outbreak continues. This shortage will disproportionately affect low-income citizens who depend on generic drugs to treat illnesses. The report warned that the U.S. is already seeing shortages of more than 200 drugs and medical supplies due to disruptions on the supply chain early on in the pandemic.

Over the weekend, Tyson Foods announced that of its 1,142 employees, 371 at its chicken plant in Noel, Missouri had tested positive for COVID-19. In a news release, Tyson said 249 were asymptomatic or showed no symptoms. The employees who tested positive will receive paid leave during the quarantine period and can only return to work once they have met the criteria established by Tyson and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maryland’s Oldest African-American-Owned and Operated Nursing Home Untouched By Coronavirus  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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