The novel coronavirus has plagued the majority of the world throughout most of 2020. Texas has become a hot spot for the virus, impacting the lives of countless individuals. In the state of Texas alone, there have been:
- 577,537 confirmed COVID-19 cases
- 11,370 confirmed COVID-19 deaths
As you can see, COVID-19 continues to be a threat to the entire state and country. Unfortunately, there are portions of the population that are more at risk than others. Those with underlying health conditions and the elderly face a higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing more severe cases.
Unfortunately, those in nursing homes are also at a higher risk. In fact, Texas nursing homes make up a large number of COVID-19 deaths and cases. Throughout the United States, COVID-19 has taken the lives of thousands of nursing home residents. But why are nursing homes hot spots for this virus?
Do the facilities not take the necessary sanitation and safety precautions? What are nursing homes doing to slow or stop the spread of the coronavirus? In many instances, nursing homes are not taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their residents.
COVID-19 continues to plague most of the world. Those in nursing homes are more at risk of COVID-19 deaths than any other population. If your loved one contracted the virus due to the negligence of a nursing home staff and lost their life, you might be in your rights to file a nursing home negligence claim. To learn what steps to take, give Wormington & Bollinger a call today.
COVID-19 Cases in Nursing Homes
COVID-19 continues to be a problem throughout much of the United States. While many communities around the country take safety precautions to protect the public, many fail to do even the bare minimum.
Nursing homes have become hotspots for COVID-19, spreading quickly throughout these facilities. According to a New York Times database, there have been 68,000 residents and workers that have died from COVID-19 at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the country.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that due to the congregate nature and the type of residents they take care of (older adults with underlying health conditions), COVID-19 poses a greater risk to nursing home populations. The CDC has developed core practices that these facilities should implement to protect their residents better.
Even though only 8% of the cases in the country occurred in long-term facilities, more than 41% of COVID-19 deaths took place in these facilities. If we look even further, in 20 states, the number of COVID-19 deaths of residents and workers account for either half or more than half of all coronavirus deaths.
Furthermore, the rate at which nursing home residents die from COVID-19 is much higher than the general population. The case fatality rate nationwide sits at 3%, while the median case fatality rate in long-term care facilities is 16%.
COVID-19 Cases in Texas
Texas is home to roughly 1,215 nursing homes, and more than three-quarters of these facilities have reported at least one coronavirus case since the pandemic started. As reported at the end of July, there have 8,291 confirmed cases in Texas nursing homes, which was four times more than the number in all of June.
In the same report, they stated that more than a third of Texas’ 5,489 COVID deaths have been nursing home residents.
Even given ample time to prepare, there are “significant deficiencies in infection control practices,” according to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Many healthcare experts believe that long-term care facilities in Texas and other states around the country have not been doing a good enough job at preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Health officials say that as community spread has taken hold, it will soon find its way into nursing homes, which was the case in Texas. Throughout the summer, COVID-19 cases among young adults rapidly rose, leading to the spread of the disease to individuals in long-term care facilities.
Because of the nature of these facilities, once the virus enters a home, it can be hard to contain.
Why do Cases in Nursing Homes Continue to Rise?
As we mentioned earlier, nursing homes account for over 41% of COVID-19 deaths in the country. These deaths occur at a rate much higher than the general population.
If these facilities know that their residents are an at-risk population and should have the proper protection, why are these numbers so high?
One reason is that these facilities are not taking the virus seriously. They are not following guidelines the CDC and other healthcare organizations have provided to contain the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately, many of these homes lack the employees with the proper training and ability to maintain these protocols. While understaffing and inadequate control measures are regulated, there is still a great deal of oversight, which leads to more cases and COVID-19 deaths.
A Lack of Testing
Healthcare professionals believe that a lack of quality testing is to blame for these continued outbreaks. They are unable to contain a spread if they can’t catch it in the first place. Texas only conducted one round of mandated tests for every resident and staff member. The CDC states that regular testing (at least twice a month or even weekly) is needed.
Texas plans on pursuing additional tests in homes where at least three people have tested positive. However, because of how quickly the virus can spread, waiting until at least one person tests positive before taking any action would put the lives of everyone else at risk.
Can I File a Claim Against a Nursing Home?
In many cases, if a nursing home acted negligently or failed to protect its residents in any way, you can and should hold them accountable. Countless nursing homes fail to adequately protect their residents, whether by acting negligent or not following proper safety guidelines. If they do so, they may face nursing home abuse lawsuits.
They can be held accountable for:
- Failing to follow safety guidelines
- Not properly screening workers
- Failing to cancel group activities
- Not informing residents and their families of the presence of COVID-19 in the facility
- Failing to wear protective gear at all times
- Failing to report positive test results
With positive cases rising in nursing homes and the announcement that Texas will allow limited visitation in nursing homes with no active cases, it is crucial that these facilities follow safety guidelines. If not, cases will increase, as will COVID-19 deaths. If you wrongfully lost your loved one to COVID-19 due to a nursing home’s negligence, contact Wormington & Bollinger and let us fight for the justice you deserve.