COVID-19 Continues to Spread in Wisconsin Nursing Homes
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on April 3, 2020 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
An Ozaukee County nursing home facility reported two more deaths from the coronavirus. Both the 87-year-old man and 82-year-old woman were hospice patients in the memory care unit at Village Pointe Commons’ long-term care facility in Grafton and were also among the first to test positive for the virus there. Another resident, a 91-year-old man, also died from COVID-19 in this same facility just one week prior.
According to Kirsten Johnson, the director of the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, the coronavirus outbreak at the facility, which houses 230 residents, appears to be contained to the facility’s hospice memory care unit. In all, Johnson states there are at least 13 staff and residents who have tested positive for the virus at this one facility so far.
Ordered Lockdown of All Washington and Ozaukee County Long-Term Care Facilities
All long-term care facilities in both Washington and Ozaukee County received mandatory lockdown orders immediately following the first coronavirus death at Village Pointe Commons. Johnson stated, “We have made a targeted effort of testing more people within these facilities, so we are finding them.” So far five facilities throughout the two counties have COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to a Capri Communities spokesperson, the company which owns Village Pointe Commons, they are taking additional measures, such as bringing in extra staff, to ensure ongoing care for patients there. Additionally, the spokesperson also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, “residents and staff are being closely monitored.”
Outbreaks Followed Up With Contact Investigations
To help contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the health department is conducting contact investigations for every report of a newly infected person. This means that after receiving a new notification, the health department is making efforts to track down every person the infected individual may have been in contact with during the two-day window prior to becoming symptomatic.
Additionally, Johnson said they are also testing every first responder or health care worker who may have had contact with an infected person or who is already symptomatic.
Locally, Johnson has issued three orders to help reduce and contain the spread of coronavirus at long-term care facilities:
- All first responders and EMS are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during any response to a senior care facility.
- Staff are encouraged to wear PPE during their shift, and residents are to be quarantined in their rooms.
- Agencies that provide staff or services to nursing homes should limit their services to one facility to reduce the potential for spreading the virus from one nursing home to another.
Elderly Residents of Nursing Homes Are Most Vulnerable
It is well-known that our elderly population is amongst the most vulnerable for dangerous illnesses like coronavirus, which is why it is important for nursing homes to take immediate recommended measures to reduce the spread and protect residents and caregivers in these facilities.
According to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency responsible for the regulation of all nursing home facilities, as many as 147 nursing homes across 27 states have already reported confirmation of at least one COVID-19-infected resident.
For the time-being, the CMS will pause all routine facility inspections and focus all of their efforts on what they are calling, “infection control.” This is partly due to how quickly the virus continues to spread, but also because a recent study of federal inspection data revealed that, over the last three years, 75 percent of U.S. long-term care facilities have received violations for a failure to monitor and control infections.
Contact A Reputable Attorney For Legal Help
PKSD Law continues to provide updates about how coronavirus is impacting nursing homes throughout Wisconsin and the U.S.
Our trusted lawyers are here to help, and our phone lines are available to take your call anytime, day or night. Initial consultations remain completely free and are currently provided online to help you protect your health, and the health of the elderly in our communities.
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