Florence rehabilitation center explains policy on COVID-19 notifications


FLORENCE, Ala. — Mission of Mercy Shoals, or MOMS Incorporated, is a nonprofit rehabilitation center in Florence. The center’s mission is to help people who suffer from substance abuse and addiction.

A concerned mother whose son is currently in the facility reached out to News 19. After hearing from her son that he was possibly exposed to COVID-19 in a facility vehicle, she questioned why the center didn’t notify her.

She said she was told the center doesn’t have a policy on notifying people. News 19 reached out to MOMS Incorporated to find out why.

“In order to release information about our clients, we have to have releases signed,” Treatment Coordinator Shaketita Bates said. “Without getting permission from them to release that information, that’s not something we could do.”

The center does, however, have policies in place for clients who test positive or show symptoms. If they cannot quarantine at home, the center can provide an isolated area for them.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said facilities should have policies regarding positive individuals and close contacts when it comes to notifying ADPH.

“Certainly, entities should have that in place because there may be times that they would find out that someone has COVID in their facility, they’d be reported to a family member that their child or their person they’re taking care of has COVID, and that may occur well before we get an official lab report through the Alabama Department of Public Health,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers said that close contacts should also quarantine for at least ten days and make sure they show no symptoms and test negative for the virus.

Bates said MOMS Incorporated quickly quarantines clients who show COVID-19 symptoms and arrangements are made to take them to a testing site. The facility is also cleaned thoroughly to help mitigate the spread as much as possible.

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