An Iowa nursing home for veterans was struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak as some residents tested positive.
Veteran’s home reports new cases and becomes an area of concern
The facility located in Marshalltown found that at least two more residents were positive for COVID-19. These cases were discovered around the time that was expected to be the state’s peak in April of 2020. In that same timeframe, about 290 people around the state were hospitalized and three more died because of the virus. A significant number of both infections and deaths in Iowa were confirmed to be tied to nursing home residents and staff. Estimates put about half of all of the state of Iowa’s coronavirus deaths in nursing home patients and workers. There were still likely several undiscovered cases in homes around the country due to the possibility of asymptomatic carriers and a lack of adequate testing.
The commandant of the home said that the two cases were found on consecutive days on a weekend, and that the two individuals were immediately taken to a local Veterans’ Affairs hospital in Des Moines as a precaution.
This particular outbreak at the home was alarming to public health officials because it is one of the largest VA facilities in the state of Iowa and the entire country. There are over 500 residents who are considered particularly vulnerable due to their advanced age and health conditions. About 11 staff members and employees have also tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, although most tests in the building have come back negative.
News of this nursing home outbreak came at a difficult time for the state, as meat packing facilities in Iowa were also under increased scrutiny due to a rapid increase in coronavirus cases. Some were forced to shut down until conditions improved. Most younger people and workers are expected to have only mild symptoms, but the virus is particularly deadly for those who are very old, very sick, or both.
The duty of care in a nursing home
Nursing homes should always keep the vulnerable people under their care free from illness and disease. However, many facilities around the country have been inspected and fined for neglect and infections even before the coronavirus pandemic. This new outbreak has only exacerbated problems that already existed in many nursing homes around the country due to staffing shortages and gaps in funding. The government does have a procedure to identify and enforce safety violations in homes, however a facility may still be allowed to operate as normal for years before closures or more drastic actions take place.
Talk to a nursing home abuse attorney in Iowa
There are lawyers who can help victims of nursing home neglect and their families through civil lawsuits and other means. To get help, contact:
1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400