GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Bed bugs. It's a nasty problem. WMBF News investigated allegations of a bed bug infestation inside an assisted living facility.
Anchor Heather Biance went to Oasis Residential Home on Thursday afternoon and the administrator was very open, admitting the bed bug problem is real. She told WMBF News at this point, they're still trying to get it under control.
For the last two and a half years, Rochelle Greene has dedicated her career to Oasis Residential Home in Georgetown.
Two weeks ago, she walked off the job frustrated with the pest, she says she was unknowingly bringing into her home.
"I was bringing bed bugs home to my kids. I'm a single mom, and I don't have the money to replace my furniture," says Rochelle Greene.
She told WMBF News the unwanted invasion has since spread to her mother's home, forcing them to sleep on the only thing that's safe, their couch.
Rochelle's mother, Valdena, showed WMBF News the evidence, "You're looking at bed bugs and my blood. This was collected about two Wednesdays ago."
We took their concerns straight to the administrator of Oasis, who admitted they have a bed bug problem.
Administrator Mazie Graham said the facility has been dealing with bed bugs for, "a few months. We're trying to get rid of them. It's hard."
As for why Mazie hasn't hired a professional in the last four months, she says it's because "it would cost me anywhere from $25,00 to $50,000 to get this whole place done."
However, WMBF News called an exterminator based in Georgetown, who says for a facility that size with 22 beds, professional treatment shouldn't cost more than a couple of hundreds of dollars per treatment. With an infestation, more than one treatment will be needed, but that's still a vast difference from the outrageous quote of $25,000 to $50,000.
Mazie Graham says her and her staff have tried everything you can purchase at a store, but Rochelle and another former employee, Will Smith paint a different picture.
"I would pick up one of the guys because he had one leg amputated and when I picked him up, his bed is covered in bed bugs and on top of that bed bugs is all over himself. So I basically had to release him very quick so it doesn't get all over me, too," says Will Smith.
Smith, who's been tasked with cleaning the facility since April was let go roughly two weeks ago. He claims it was because he kept voicing his concerns about the bed bugs. He's now looking for a new job and new furniture, after having to toss his old set.
Rochelle and Will both have concerns about the patients who can't help themselves. "Some patients don't have family that comes and checks on them, so they would never know their living conditions. And then some families who did learn about it, took their family members from Oasis."
Heather Biance also reached out to DHEC to see what can be done not just in this case, but in any case of bed bug infestations, because these pests are classified as a "public nuisance" not a "health threat" (they don't spread disease), it doesn't fall under their jurisdiction for regulation. Meaning they can't and won't step in for complaints regarding bed bugs.
As of this publishing, there had been no complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau or the SC Attorney General's Office.