Nursing Homes Under Scrutiny Nationwide for Mishandling Coronavirus
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly one-fourth of all people who have died from the novel coronavirus either lived or worked in a nursing home or long-term care facility according to the USA TODAY. As a consequence of mounting pressure from family members with loved ones stricken by the virus who lived in nursing homes and other advocacy groups, individual states have begun releasing statistics reflecting the number of dead residents and staff from nursing homes. To date, as many as 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 who lived or worked in a long-term healthcare facility or nursing home. The numbers are probably much higher: only 32 states have published COVID-19 nursing home death statistics, and some of the states that have reported have only provided partial counts. *
The death toll in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus is 60,000. The number is staggering. At nursing homes, where people live in close proximity to each other and have a high risk of infection from the virus, 97,000 residents and staff have tested positive. However, given the reluctance by some states to release data or have only released partial data, the extent of the problem is unknown.
Distraught family members of nursing home residents have been left in the dark, some say purposefully, about the level of care their beloved have received and the status of the COVID-19 outbreak within the facility. States and individual facilities alike have hidden the condition from prying eyes by citing HIPAA privacy laws.
Some nursing homes have tried to keep up with the demand for information. The head of a national trade group representing nursing home interests called for help weeks ago. However, no help from any government was forthcoming because nursing homes, and by extension, the elderly population is a low priority.
Nursing home staff in Illinois believed they were forced to fight for their right to work in a safe environment. Consequently, staff members across Illinois will demand proper safety equipment, hazard pay, and additional sick leave time.
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