What Percentage of Coronavirus Deaths are Related to Long Term Care Facilities?
This is a good question to ask and this is the right time to ask it. While the number of deaths related to the coronavirus continues to move upward (albeit at a slower pace) we’re learning a lot about how these deaths occurred and how vulnerable populations were left exposed to the virus.
While this includes the inner city due to poor public services and a more densely-populated area, it also includes nursing homes where residents have a reasonable expectation that the premises would be clean and sanitary. Why then has such a large cross-section of coronavirus deaths include elderly patients in long-term care facilities?
100 Deaths in One Facility
Earlier this month, the state announced the hundredth death related to Volusia long-term care facilities. In Volusia county, these deaths account for more than one-half of the overall number of deaths reported. As of the writing of this article, Volusia county had 185 total deaths. One-hundred of those were patients housed in long-term care facilities. Ninety-four of the one-hundred deaths were linked to a single long-term care facility.
While we know that age is a risk factor for a more serious coronavirus infection, we knew that even before the shutdown began because of what we were seeing in China, Italy, and across Europe. How then, did we manage to drop the ball and allow so many of our older loved ones to die from this infectious disease?
Poor Testing and Lax Infection Control
If I told you that grocery chains implemented better anti-infectious disease measures than most nursing homes, would you be surprised? Probably not. Nursing homes have been the target of investigations and lawsuits well before the COVID pandemic. The COVID pandemic, is, for good or ill, shining a light on the quality of care patients receive.
The most vulnerable patients are those who have had recent surgeries are still in recovery. Not only are they more prone to infection than other patients, but the damage an infection could cause is much greater. Then you have memory care patients who may not be in a cognitive state to protect themselves. Lastly, you have nurses and staff that work in close proximity to patients who likely were a vector for the disease (since relatives have been largely prevented from visiting patients).
While this has been a major wake-up call for Americans with family members in long-term care or assisted-living facilities, the conditions that allowed these tragedies to occur remain in place. While some nursing homes have begun testing staff on a regular basis, the reports concerning deaths are still troubling. In some cases, COVID-positive patients were housed in close proximity to those without the illness, and staff members who later tested positive for COVID were found working alongside vulnerable patients who later died.
Talk to a Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you’ve lost a loved one or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home or long-term care facility, call the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law today. We can help you hold the negligent facility accountable.