As Pennsylvania reaches over 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus in November, the vast majority of deaths are still among residents of nursing homes. Over 6,000 deaths from the coronavirus in Pennsylvania were nursing home residents.
As of November 2020, Chester County has had 390 deaths so far from the pandemic, and 301 of those deaths were in long term care facilities. But deadly outbreaks at these facilities are not an inevitability. If you suspect staff or facility negligence may be responsible for a COVID-19 outbreak at the nursing home where your loved one resides, contact the skilled attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt without delay.
Current Coronavirus Outbreaks in Chester County Nursing Homes
As of November 2020, there are currently 1414 resident cases of COVID-19 in Chester County nursing homes, and 345 cases among employees at 51 facilities. There are 40 facilities currently that are elevated to the status of “outbreak”. Spikes in fatalities have occurred in May, July, late August/early September, and November.
Coronavirus Outbreaks in Chester County Nursing Homes During the Spring
After the first initial wave of the pandemic, the state of Pennsylvania released data on the impact the first wave had on long term care facilities. 38 long term care facilities in Chester County were on this list of most deadly epicenters of the virus, with 179 deaths. The hardest-hit centers were:
- Southeastern Veterans Center: 35 deaths out of 106 positive cases
- Green Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: 30 fatalities out of 62 cases
- Brandywine Hall: 28 deaths out of 116 cases
What Causes Coronavirus Outbreaks in Nursing Homes
The CDC states: “In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.” Nursing homes are particularly dangerous places for coronavirus transmission because residents spend their time almost entirely indoors, having close interactions with numerous people.
But just because a group care setting is more likely to experience a coronavirus outbreak, doesn’t mean it is inevitable. Nursing homes are supposed to have protocols in place to contain outbreaks of contagious diseases, and if they are not following these guidelines, you have every reason to suspect there may be negligence involved.
Safety Issues at Nursing Homes Started Before the Coronavirus
Nursing homes were struggling to stop the spread of viruses and contagious diseases long before the current global pandemic. Data shows that over the last three years, 75% of nursing homes nationwide have received a citation for failing to control infections properly.
The reason for this failure? It’s often that many nursing homes do not follow the simple guidelines set forth by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These guidelines are not difficult to follow, and include things like:
- Washing hands between patients
- Wearing masks and gloves
- Disinfecting equipment between patients
Why Do Nursing Homes Fail to Follow Infectious Disease Control Guidelines?
Though the steps above may seem overly simple, when done correctly they can slow or stop the spread of an infection in a nursing home. So why don’t nursing homes follow these guidelines?
The answer usually boils down to one word: time. Nursing homes are often short-staffed in an effort to save money. This can lead to staff members cutting corners and bypassing time-consuming procedures like proper hand-washing.
How an Attorney Can Help With a Nursing Home Outbreak of Coronavirus
If your loved one has suffered due to an outbreak of coronavirus caused by negligence on the part of a long term care facility, you are not alone, and you may have legal recourse. Whether your loved one was affected during the spring wave or is currently in a facility experiencing an outbreak, the lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you determine if you have a case.
There are 75 long-term care facilities in Chester County, many of which are currently closed to visitors except for the end-of-life visitations. The fact that you cannot see your loved one while you are worrying about their safety can be scary and overwhelming. If you have reason to believe that the facility or staff may have been negligent in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the facility where your loved one resides, contact our office today. We can complete a thorough investigation and connect you to the resources you need to protect your loved one. Contact us at 1-866-869-5318 or by filling out our form online.