As the numbers continue to climb across the state regarding COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and residential care facilities, a local senior care facility stands out. Carlyle Senior Care in Kingstree currently has a third of all the cases in Williamsburg County. The Kingstree facility is one of seven in the state reporting over 50 cases.

The latest data provided by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), as of May 17, 178 cases and nine deaths have been reported in Williamsburg County. Of those, 61 cases are being reported at Carlyle Senior Care. Administrator Candy Slavinski said staff with symptoms have been referred to their provider of choice for testing. “We are part of SCDHEC’s phase 2 testing initiative and any staff that have not been tested will be tested beginning Monday,” she said in an email. She also said all residents in the facility have been tested at this time.

Senator Ronnie Sabb said there are discussions and investigations under way in regards to residential care facilities. He didn’t comment any further but added there are serious concerns associated with what’s happening. “My heart bleeds for those families and for those workers,” Sabb said whose district covers all/or portions of Berkeley, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg counties. “I know they don’t come to work expecting or wanting to see that. They come to work trying to help those who need help and to experience all those losses has to be a traumatic experience on them as well. I’m prayerful that the persons who understand how to curve the pandemic are bringing to bear the necessary resources and expertise to try to minimize the losses that we’re having, but I’m troubled about what’s going on over there.”

Slavinski also provided a statement: “As you know, at Carlyle Senior Care of Kingstree, we currently have positive cases of COVID-19 in our building. We continue to provide good care for all of our Residents and are doing everything we can to prevent the further spread of this virus. We continue to be in close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps at this time. Our staff and residents continue to follow the recommended actions. We are keeping families up to date and assisting them to communicate with their loved ones through telephone and video chat visits. We continue to restrict outside visitors from entering our facility. All information concerning newly confirmed COVID-19 cases are being reported to the required state agencies daily. These agencies report our information to the general public. In addition, we update our facility website daily with any new cases of confirmed COVID-19 and any new cases of clusters of respiratory infection symptoms. This information can be found on our website - All of our Residents have now been tested. As a result of this widespread testing, our numbers of positive patients may appear high, especially when compared to similar organizations who have not done widespread testing. For infection control purposes, those Residents who have COVID are on different units than those Residents who do not have COVID. We are in close contact with our Physicians to determine the correct time to re-test previously tested COVID positive Residents. Resident health safety continues to be our top priority. At this time, MOST of those residents who have received positive results continue to demonstrate very mild or no symptoms at all. We continue to monitor them closely for changes. Should we observe significant changes in condition in any of our Residents, we are sending them to the hospital so that they can be evaluated and admitted, if necessary. Fortunately, Residents who have required hospital services have been very limited. At Carlyle Senior Care of Kingstree, our staff have been absolutely amazing. They are extremely dedicated and continue to work very hard to provide care and services to our Residents. Our Residents are like our extended family to us and we take pride in caring for them with love, dignity and respect. We also are thankful for the support and kind gestures we have received from our community. This is a very challenging time for all of our Residents, their families, our staff and everyone who has been touched by COVID. The kindness that has been shown by our community is very much appreciated.”