As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its reign of terror across the globe, supplies have become limited and many are confined to their homes. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has recently extended the COVID-19 state of emergency through May 13th and extended the shelter in place order through April 30th.
While COVID-19 has impacted all age groups, is has become apparent that elderly individuals are one of the more vulnerable demographics along with those with underlying health conditions. Nursing homes are becoming increasingly known as hotbeds for the coronavirus to infect the residents and staff at alarming rates. With so many nursing homes being in the spotlight for the larger population of residents contracting coronavirus, what duty does the nursing home have to act reasonably to stop the potential spread of COVID-19?
COVID-19 and Georgia Nursing Homes
As of April 1st, almost two weeks ago, there were 47 nursing homes in Georgia that had reported outbreaks of COVID-19. Pruitt-Health Grandview Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Athens, Georgia has recently reported that 10 of their residents have died of COVID-19 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The facility continues to operate at a code red as the outbreak continues to wreak havoc on its residents and staff.
Nursing Home Residents are Owed a Duty of Care
Georgia nursing homes owe their residents a duty of reasonable care to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The statistics show that elderly residents and those with underlying health conditions have a much greater risk of dying as a result of COVID-19. The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) has released protocols for nursing homes and long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It also has released a set of protocols for the facilities to follow should a resident test positive for COVID-19.
When nursing homes fail to take appropriate measures to protect their residents from COVID-19, they may be acting negligently. Don’t be afraid to take action. Your loved one has rights and nursing home residents are entitled to enforce these rights without retribution, harassment, or retaliation.
Nursing Home Precautions You Should Expect
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities owe their residents a duty of care, which means implementing protocols to protect their residents. The GDPH has issued the following protocols:
- Restrict all visitors and non-essential health care workers with the exception of certain situation.
- Cancel all communal dining and group activities.
- Establish an appropriate social distancing infrastructure for residents and staff.
- Implement active screening for residents.
- Screen all staff at the beginning of their shift.
- Establish a mechanism for staff to report their exposure if they work in several locations.
- Reinforce adherence to infection prevention and control measures.
- Consider implementing universal facemasks for HCP while in the facility. While this is ideal, according to GDPH, availability of masks must be considered.
- Use Standard, Contact, and Droplet Precautions with eye protection when caring for residents with undiagnosed respiratory infection, unless the suspected diagnosis requires Airborne Precautions (i.e. tuberculosis).
COVID-19 Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit was filed against the People’s Republic of China on March 12th. As the death toll rises, a group of individuals seek justice alleging that Chinese authorities “proverbially put their head in the sand” for their own “economic self-interest, thus sparking the global COVID-19 outbreak.” The lawsuit claims that China knew of the lethality of the virus yet refused to take necessary action early enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which is now a global pandemic. Despite being filed by three residents of Florida, it includes the millions of individuals and businesses with “injury, damage, and loss related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.”
Experienced Nursing Home Attorney in Georgia
If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 (coronavirus) while in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility in Georgia as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. In addition to filing a suit against the care facility and/or various other parties, you may also be eligible to join the class action lawsuit filed against China. To learn more about your options or about joining the class action lawsuit, contact Julie Rice & Affiliates by phone 770-865-8654, by email email@example.com or by messaging us on our contact us page.