Briarcliff Nursing Home accounts for all Panola County COVID-19 deaths


PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Briarcliff Nursing Home is now reporting five resident deaths and one employee, a total of six coronavirus deaths.

All of Panola County is reporting six deaths.

Tensions are high as whistleblowers continue to give information on conditions inside.

We were first alerted of the employee dying by a Briarcliff employee.

Tonight they write to us “out of respect for the family’s privacy, we will restrict our comments at this time. We are grateful for the healthcare services provided at Briarcliff and to other facilities throughout the employee’s career, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the employee’s loved ones during this difficult time.

It was on Monday we reported the rising number of coronavirus cases inside this nursing home. No other nursing home in Carthage has reported any deaths.

On Sunday we received a reliable tip that four residents had died yet it wasn’t until Wednesday that Briarcliff’s website reflected the update.

When we asked staff why information is delayed on their website, this was the response:

Website updating is not a regulatory requirement. Briarcliff opted to add the COVID-19 banner with updated statistics to its website in order to promote transparent communication with resident families, the local community, and others who may be interested.

Briarcliff Staff

For some family members, they want to start hearing the facts from management rather than hearing about it through other people from inside.

“That’s probably one of the scariest parts is them not being forthcoming. Not just for me, but for everyone who is out here wondering about their loved one.”

Concerned family member

In our report on Monday, a former employee told us several of her concerns that led to her leaving Briarcliff. Today Briarcliff responded to our first story.

In a statement, Briarcliff staff says

“There are many caregivers who are fearful of working in a setting with COVID-positive patients. We have always had appropriate personal protective equipment. Through ongoing collaboration with county and state agencies, we have been fortunate to procure an adequate supply.

After our first story aired, a family is wanting to remove their loved one from this facility. Briarcliff told us today that removal of residents has not changed due to the coronavirus.

Briarcliff added “most families have been very supportive and positive about the actions we’ve taken to care for their loved ones prior to and throughout this crisis.”

There are 60 residents currently at Briarcliff. Of them, 23 are active cases. That is 38 percent of residents that have COVID-19 as of Friday night. 46 percent of residents have or have had COVID-19.

To watch our original story of what a former employee says went wrong click here.

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