COVID-19 has posed a threat to the health of people around the world and continues to affect our daily lives. The virus has been especially detrimental to the elderly, therefore making nursing homes or assisted living facilities a hotbed for the spread and devastation of the disease. The nature of this virus allows it to spread from host to host rather easily, as we have seen with the community clusters that are infected around the country.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has particularly affected residents in assisted living facilities across the country. Unfortunately, the nature of these facilities gives the virus an opportunity to spread efficiently, while simultaneously affecting the most vulnerable in our population. The infections and deaths due to the virus are tragic, and now there is evidence to suggest that the virus is also causing “excess deaths” of residents who are not infected. These deaths come from neglect or abuse due to the lack of care or resources by specific facilities.
In an AP article from November, a nursing home experts estimates that the “excess deaths” from neglect and abuse in nursing homes is up 15%, compared to years past. As the article explains, this spike in deaths is in addition to the thousands of lives that are usually lost due to neglect.
In November, Colorado nursing home facilities experienced the highest number of outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic. With more infections and residents in need of critical care, the ripple effects continue to devastate these facilities.
Covid in Colorado
As of April 3, 2020, El Paso County has been working with eighteen long-term healthcare facilities who have elderly patients showing respiratory symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19. Out of those facilities there have been five reported outbreaks with MorningStar, located on Centennial Blvd, having the most infections. Twelve of MorningStar’s 53 patients have been diagnosed with the virus.
Another outbreak of COVID-19 in a local facility in Colorado Springs, Laurel Manor, was first reported on March 19th. At that time six patients had tested positive for the virus, and that number has grown to at least ten people infected, and two people have died.
Your Loved Ones and Their Safety
Family members with loved ones in these facilities are extremely worried about the quick spread of the virus and the severity of it with this specific demographic. An outbreak in any one of these facilities can be catastrophic for the patients residing there. If the specific protocols are not taken for the prevention of the virus entering the facility, and the spread once there is a confirmed case present, the results can be devasting.
Nursing Home Negligence During Covid
The Life Care Center of Kirkland, (Washington state), was one of the first facilities in the country to see the devastation that this virus can pose on elderly patients not properly protected. This facility did not follow appropriate protocol in reporting patients once they started showing signs of possibly being infected. This resulted in the death of 40 people associated with the facility, 19 of them being residents. The initial illnesses had been thought to be the seasonal flu, but under Washington state law and county regulations, they should have reported this activity within 24 hours.
In the case of Life Care, federal investigators believe that the virus spread quickly from room-to-room because the center did not follow proper safety protocols. In February and March many employees of this facility became sick, and investigators believe this led to poor documentation and lack of care for the residents. The facility is accused of not being prepared to stop the spread of infection and failing to provide the appropriate measures to protect its residents, team members, and anyone associated with Life Care.
Life Care Center of Kirkland now faces fines of more than $600,000 for the alleged deficiencies that allowed the virus to spread so rapidly throughout the nursing home.
The example of the long-term health facility in Washington unveils the horrifying truth of facilities across the country not taking the appropriate measures in time to protect its stakeholders.
Known Covid-19 Cases in El Paso County Nursing Homes
In El Paso County we are now seeing issues in facilities with similar lack of protocol to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus. Here is a list of the facilities with reported outbreaks in El Paso County:
-MorningStar at Mountain Shadows
– Laurel Manor Care Center
-Terrace Gardens Healthcare Center
-Winslow Court Retirement Community
McDivitt Is Here to Help
If you have a loved one or know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus in a long-term healthcare facility in Colorado, and you would like to seek legal help, please contact us. There may be legal recourse for the lack of protocol or potential negligence of these facilities from keeping your loved one safe and healthy. We are taking cases from individuals who have been put in harm’s way, from no fault of their own and are looking for legal representation. Individuals who believe they are victims of this negligence or representatives of deceased victims, can call or fill out Free Case Evaluation form on this page, so we can start on your case. McDivitt is fully operational during this unprecendented health crisis.
We will continue to update this blog as more reports on the outbreaks and details are released, along with an updated list of outbreaks.