COVID-19 Cases Soar in Florida Nursing Homes for Both Workers & Residents
According to reports, coronavirus cases in Florida’s nursing homes have soared in recent weeks, more than doubling amongst both residents and staff, in large part due to an issue that these homes have long neglected and which COVID-19 has simply exposed and exacerbated, which is infection control protocol and practices. Experts with national advocacy groups have noted that the virus is “spread[ing] like wildfire,” and more deaths will inevitably follow as a result. According to estimates, state facilities went from having approximately 1,400 residents and 2,500 workers testing positive in late June to more than 3,600 residents and 6,300 workers testing positive in mid-July; almost exclusively in Broward, Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Seminole, and Volusia Counties. This represents a 74 percent increase just in the past month, despite orders by the Governor to isolate the sick.
Workers Not Provided with Enough PPE or Testing
According to the union that represents thousands of facility workers, some are being told to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, and masks that the CDC has directed all workers to change as they move from patient to patient. There have even been reports of facilities that are only providing workers with one surgical mask to last them three weeks. This is especially alarming given that, of the 2,255 individuals who have died of the virus at these facilities, 21 have been staff, and this has included workers who were fighting for more protective equipment to be provided.
Many staff members have also noted that being subject to bi-weekly testing is simply not enough, given that the best way to keep the virus from infecting residents is to keep them away from infected workers. In each facility, workers do not stay designated to one area, but rather have to constantly bounce back and forth between positive and negative areas as part of their job.
Families Kept in The Dark; Replying On the Word of the Facility
Families who are cut off from and losing their loved ones to COVID-19 are going through heartbreaking losses. Many do not know what is going on because they are no longer allowed to visit their loved ones, and instead have to rely on reports from the facilities themselves regarding what happened and what care was provided to their loved ones after they pass. This includes one Florida man whose mother died after contracting the virus, and who did not have a chance to send her to the hospital or say goodbye; he simply found out that she was placed on oxygen and died the next day after she passed.
Florida Nursing Homes Can Be Held Accountable: Contact Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Mark H. Wright
Nursing home abuse and neglect is not relegated to taking financial advantage of elderly residents, or failing to address bed sores. It includes failed infection control procedures that result in our loved ones contracting COVID-19 and suffering as a result. Florida has not provided immunity to nursing homes when it comes to liability, which means that they can be held accountable for negligence and wrongful death during the pandemic.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse or negligence in a Florida nursing home, contact our Tampa nursing home abuse attorney Mark H. Wright today to find out how we can help.