Infection Risks of COVID-19 in Long Term-Care Facilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, individuals over the age of 65 are more susceptible to being infected with COVID-19. Individuals over the age of 65 that live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities are at an even higher risk of hospitalization or death.

Although health officials in many states have not released the total number of outbreaks in these facilities, statistics show that approximately 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States occurred in long-term care facilities. These numbers continue to rise every day. The spread is more profound in these facilities due to age, group living settings, and lack of protective equipment.

In Missouri, as of May 1, 2020, St. Louis County reported 46 nursing homes to be contaminated with COVID-19 and St. Louis City reported 12. Many families have been left in the dark, as it is principally up to the long-term care facilities to alert them about the outbreaks.

Not all facilities are notifying families that their loved ones have become infected with COVID-19, or even died after testing positive for coronavirus. These facilities are supposed to be a safe place for our loved ones, and many are not taking the proper precautions to prevent the rapid spread of this disease.

In addition to the CDC and local public health departments, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stepped up to provide additional guidance to prevent COVID-19 transmissions in nursing homes.

These guidelines include:

  • Facilities frequently monitoring the CDC website and contacting local health departments for questions.
  • If a resident is suspected to be infected, isolation of the individual is essential to prevent exposure to other residents and/or staff.
  • Regularly monitoring residents throughout the day for symptoms of any respiratory infection.
  • Regularly screening of personnel for fever, cough, sore throat, or respiratory symptoms.
  • Restricting visitation of residents unless there is an “end-life” situation.
  • In the event of an “end-life” situation, facilities should ensure visitors have taken the proper hand hygiene precautions and use a facemask. These visitors should also be closely monitored for symptoms of shortness of breath, fever, sore throat, and/or cough.
  • Ban any communal activities in the facility.
  • Frequently educating residents on the importance of hygiene practices and the use of face masks.
  • Facilities increasing accessibility of alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues, no-touch containers for disposal of trash, and face masks.
  • In the event of shortages of alcohol-based hand rubs, surgical masks, and respirators, personnel should exercise proper hand washing techniques with soap and water and contact the local public health agency and exercise proper handwashing with soap and water.

Nursing Home Liability for COVID-19 Deaths

COVID-19 is a serious disease that is fatal to the elderly community that largely live in long-term care facilities. These facilities have the utmost responsibility to ensure they are doing everything in their power to prevent the infection from spreading to its residents and staff.

If you have a loved one that contracted or died from COVID-19 in a long-term care facility that violated CDC, local public health department, or CMS guidelines, our nursing home injury lawyers are here to help. Please contact the attorneys at The Dixon Injury Firm today for a free consultation by calling (314) 208-2808

All initial consultations are free and there is never a charge unless we win. Our Top 100 Trial Lawyers are standing by to answer your questions.