In the three weeks surrounding Thanksgiving of 2020, the death rate from COVID-19 doubled among nursing home residents in the state of Florida, with the number of infections continuing to climb among the state’s most vulnerable residents. Source.
David Bruns, AARP spokesperson, stated that “The fundamental problem is the continued inability to provide accurate, rapid-results testing of everyone entering elder-care facilities – staff, visitors, family caregivers and vendors.” When visitation was reopened for nursing homes back in October, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees suggested that nursing homes require COVID-19 testing for those entering nursing homes, it was never enforced, so many facilities did not have mandatory rapid-testing.
With recent developments and roll outs of a vaccine, Governor Ron DeSantis has shifted his focus from testing at nursing homes to vaccinating residents as the solution, placing those over the age of 65 at a higher priority to receive the vaccine than essential workers or younger people with underlying health conditions. While the vaccine is a positive development in beating this virus, the focus should not be shifted from the rising numbers of deaths at nursing homes.
With the holiday season coming to an end, the elderly population has seen more visitors, and/or visited their families more than ever since the start of the pandemic. While returning to nursing homes, there is not much way of knowing who these returning or new residents came into contact with that had the virus, especially when considering the number of people who are asymptomatic and therefore unaware that they are spreading COVID-19. Because of this, advocates for nursing home residents are arguing that there should be mandatory rapid testing for anyone entering a nursing home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges for the elderly population, from shutting down visitations to facing outbreaks in their facilities. If your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home during this pandemic, contact the personal injury attorneys at Beltz & Beltz.
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