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Summit Manor employee is first Kentucky healthcare worker to fall to COVID-19

By Jeff Neagle and Drew Bergman

The first healthcare worker to pass away after testing positive for COVID-19 is an Adair Countian.

Pamela L. Hughes was an employee of Summit Manor. She passed away on Monday after a courageous battle with the coronavirus. She was 50 years old.

Signature HealthCARE, the parent company of Summit Manor, released a statement on Tuesday. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that Signature HealthCARE of Summit Manor confirms the loss of one of its most valued and dedicated staff members who had tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away Monday.”

“Pam dedicated her life to caring for others,” said Margaret Jones, an LPN at Summit Manor. “Whether it be her patients, co-workers, or family, she strived to help however she could. She faithfully worked at Summit Manor for 32 years, rarely ever calling in sick. We all will fondly remember her beautiful smile and generous nature.”

Regional Vice President of the company, Steven Cook, said “Pamela L. Hughes made a tremendous impact at Summit Manor as a Medication Aide and CNA since 1988. Her loyalty and dependability shined as bright as the smile she always had serving our residents. She had an infectious positive attitude. Pam was a mother and had a number of nieces and nephews who she treated like her own children. She gave that same love to our residents and they adored her.”

Cook said everyone at Summit Manor will greatly miss Pam and she will be forever remembered for the impact she made on the residents and her peers there.

He also asked for everyone to “keep Hughes’ family in your thoughts and prayers as their loss is the greatest of all. We also ask for your respect and compassion for our residents, staff and facility at this time.”

The Lake Cumberland District Health Department (LCDHD) also released a statement. “Today was a difficult day as we experienced our fourth COVID-19 death. We now have had two deaths in Pulaski and two in Adair. We are closely monitoring the situations at Summit Manor Nursing Home in Adair and Fair Oaks Nursing Home in Russell. We want to express our gratitude to all local responders, agencies and long-term care facilities for your cooperation.

Hughes is the second death in Adair County for positive COVID-19 cases. Emma Smith Rodgers, a resident at Summit Manor, was the first in the county to pass away from COVID-19 complications. She was 83.

As of Tuesday evening, there were 41 current COVID-19 cases in Adair County. Eight of those cases are hospitalized and 33 are self-isolated. Three cases have been declared as recovered and released from isolation. Adair County has now surpassed Pulaski County with the most total cases. The majority of cases in Adair are from Summit Manor.

The LCDHD is reporting 109 total cases that are positive or presumed positive in their service area.

With that in mind, here are the announcements from Governor Beshear over the past week.

April 8, 2020 (1346): Governor Beshear announced a new executive order limiting the number of people in stores that remain open. Only one adult per household should shop at one time. The order does make exceptions for those who cannot remain at home without their carer being present Chief of Staff LaTasha Bucker clarified: “So if you’re the adult in the household and you need to go out and get groceries but you have minor children or other adults who have physical or mental impairments and they can’t be on their own, they can still accompany you to the grocery store.”

April 9, 2020 (1452): Governor Beshear announced that Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls state resort parks have been ordered to close in response to people failing to abide by social distancing guidelines at those parks; the governor also announced that the number of workers who can receive workers’ compensation if they are ordered to quarantine has once again expanded as coverage will now be extended to those in the military, active National Guard, child-care workers, grocery workers, corrections officers, domestic violence shelter workers, child advocacy workers, rape crisis center workers, postal workers and Department of Community Based Services workers.

April 10, 2020 (1655): Governor Beshear announced that he has convened a new task force aimed at addressing health concerns in Kentucky’s long-term care facilities where residents and staffers are at elevated risk to coronavirus outbreaks; the governor also announced that any persons gathering in large groups would be under quarantine orders and stated that he was aware of six churches planning to hold in-person services for Easter and that he had directed Kentucky State Police to record the license plates of people found to be gathering so that they may be put under a 14-day quarantine. 

April 11, 2020 (1840): Governor Beshear reiterated his calls for churches to practice social distancing over the holiday weekend, noting that there were no other religions or churches other than the six known churches planning to gather for Easter services; the governor shared a video of faith leaders from across the commonwealth urging people to be healthy at home and avoid crowding, this was the third such video from faith leaders and the first to feature women pastors.

April 12, 2020 (1963): Governor Beshear announced that seven churches met, disregarding the Governor’s executive order banning mass gatherings and repeated warnings from local, state, and federal health officials that these services risked lives; individuals who attended these in-person services will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days in order to limit the impact of their actions on other people; the governor also announced a partnership with Kroger that will expand the testing capability in Kentucky which is expected to be able to handle about 250 vehicles per day per site at all locations. Kentuckians can register at, or by calling 1-888-852-2567 (select option 1, then option 3); he also announced that the state’s first drive-through testing site will be open from 10:00  a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Franklin County Fairgrounds Monday through Thursday, April 13, 14, 15, and 16 and will be free of charge; the governor stated that additional locations will be announced later in the week with a goal of running 20,000 tests over five weeks.

April 13, 2020 (2084) Governor Beshear announced that in honor of the now more than 100 Kentuckians who have passed away due to COVID-19 the flags at state buildings would be flown at half-staff for a week; in positive news, the governor said that Kentucky is flattening the curve; he pointed to data from the Kaiser Foundation showing the commonwealth doing better than its neighbors in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, “What that means is you are reducing the cases that we have now,” Governor Beshear said. “You are saving lives.”

April 14, 2020 (2210): Though not by name (out of deference), the governor announced that Pamela L. Hughes, a Medication Aide and CNA with Summit Manor became the first healthcare worker in the Commonwealth to pass away from coronavirus; the governor also announced that “Schools should at least prepare plans for not being open for the rest of the year;” also, the governor stated that Kentucky is not immune to the racial disparities in coronavirus care as has been reported by other agencies across the nation; racial data shows that across 72.81 percent of known cases European Americans comprise 81.03 percent of those infected, African Americans represent 11.23 percent, Asian Americans 2.96 percent, and multiracial people comprise 4.41 percent, while across 83 percent of known fatalities European American patients comprise 76.01 percent of the deceased while African Americans comprise 22.92 percent of the deceased and Asian Americans comprise 1 percent.

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