Georgia Governor Brian Kemp extended the lockdown to June 12, 2020 to all statewide long-term care facilities to help protect those who are most vulnerable to illness.
As the state begins easing the lockdown for the general population, however, the virus may continue to circulate throughout the community.
The danger nursing residents face during this time is staff members coming and going from facilities, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Some who are infected with COVID-19 may not be aware of it. The incubation period can range from 2-14 days.
Are COVID-19 infections common in Georgia nursing homes?
Here are some examples of how prevalent the danger of COVID-19 is to the older population:
- The staff at one nursing home just south of Atlanta had to work overtime to cover shifts for more than two dozen staff members who tested positive for COVID-19. What's worse, 20 residents in the facility died from COVID-19 complications.
- A COVID-19 outbreak quickly erupted in a Marietta facility and infected 86 residents and 17 staff members.
- At a West Georgia facility, seven patients died from COVID-19 and 11 staff members tested positive. The facility was in short supply of masks.
- Westbury Medical Care and Rehab in Jackson had their first case on April 3. All residents were tested, but it took nearly a month for the results to come in. By then, the facility had 102 cases and 20 deaths. About two dozen staff members were also infected.
As of May 8th, 2020, a total of 4,149 nursing home and assisted living residents across the state of Georgia were infected with COVID-19. Approximately 659 have died from the virus.
Nursing homes struggle to stay fully staffed
Since April, the number of infected long-term care staff has doubled to 1,824 as of Thursday, May 7, 2020. As a result of several staff members becoming infected, nursing homes are struggling to stay adequately staffed 24 hours per day. This could make it difficult for existing staff members to meet the needs of all residents.
As we discussed at the beginning of 2020, adequate staffing has been a historical safety and health concern for nursing home residents in Georgia. With this looming pandemic, the problem has grown far worse than previously imagined. Residents, who are now isolated in their rooms, are at risk of not getting the attention and care that they need.
Health officials are vehemently calling for widespread testing of nursing home staff members. This would identify a positive infection during the incubation period. This could also help prevent the spread of the virus in facilities. Staff members are still coming and going, however, as well as interacting with others in the outside world.
Get the Atlanta attorney serving nursing home neglect victims
It is absolutely critical that anyone working in long-term care get tested for COVID-19. Those who test positive must be quarantined until it is safe for them to return to work. Those who test negative should maintain healthy hygiene, wash their hands frequently, and follow social distancing guidelines.
If your loved one suffered from COVID-19 complications due to poor facility management, it's critical that you speak with an experienced Atlanta nursing home neglect attorney. The Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC can launch an investigation, gather the facts, and help you pursue justice.
To learn more, contact us online or call (866) 904-6653. Our case evaluations are confidential and free of charge.