Think about the nursing home residents who have not left their locked-down rooms and buildings since mid-March and their families who have not seen them
As people fight each other in stores, public places, streets, and parks over the governments’ unconstitutional mandate for healthy people to wear masks in stifling heat, indoors, outdoors, in their own cars alone, or start fights with perfect strangers they insult for their selfishness that endangers their fragile health and existence in the air space they breathe, how dare they pollute the air that may kill them with a deadly virus, and snitch on perfect strangers on websites and to employers because their employees dare to wear the mask improperly below their noses or took it off to answer the phone in order to be heard by the other party on the line, a large group of a different kind of Covid-19 victims is being ignored – people in nursing homes.
The elderly in nursing homes have health issues that are not being properly addressed. Some die alone and are buried hurriedly without any loved ones present. Some residents are Covid-negative, some are Covid-positive asymptomatic, and some have long recovered from their bout with pneumonia.
Residents are locked up away from their relatives and friends, unable to go to the specialists they need, unable to even get out to the parking lot in their wheelchairs to get fresh air and sunshine. Upon return from such a potential trip, they would have to be isolated for 14 days.
These forgotten Americans are denied trips to the barber or the beauty salon. They cannot go out to have a meal with their families in a restaurant, they must stay locked up indefinitely.
Some residents have incipient dementia and do understand and feel more deeply the non-ending isolation and abandonment. Others have a more severe form of dementia and do not understand what is going on, why they cannot open the windows or why they cannot come out of their rooms anymore, why they cannot wheel themselves on the corridors to visit with other residents, to have more human contact than just the nurse on duty or the CNA taking care of them for that week.
Families kept at bay can only imagine the fear and frustration of their loved ones who believe that they have been abandoned for good, never seeing a familiar and loved face in months.
The nursing home administrator blames the mighty Health Department who oversees the fate of the nursing home residents. The home is blameless and there is only so much they can do to keep the loved ones comfortable. I cannot imagine how comfortable a resident is who has been in lockdown since mid-March to the point that they cannot leave their rooms and all doors must be shut.
Virginia’s first district, Rep. Rob Wittman, assured families that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced new initiatives “designed to protect nursing home residents from coronavirus.” He and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) have asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “provide increased emergency funding to all long-term care facilities, in addition to the nearly $4.9 billion distribution to nursing home facilities impacted by Covid-19 which he supported.”
HHS authorized a $5 billion relief fund to “Medicare-certified long-term care facilities and state veterans’ homes, to build nursing home skills and enhance response to COVID-19, including enhanced infection control.”
CMS will now require, not just recommend, that “all nursing homes in states with a 5% positivity rate or greater test all nursing home staff each week, identifying asymptomatic carriers. More than 15,000 testing devices will be deployed over the next few months to help support this mandate.”
The Trump administration “deployed federal Task Force Strike Teams to provide onsite technical assistance and education to nursing homes experiencing outbreaks in an effort to reduce transmission and the risk of Covid-19 spread among residents.” The teams are composed of “clinicians and public health personnel from CMS, CDC, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health.”
Since the residents are locked up in their rooms and families are not allowed in, it is obvious that the spread occurs from the staff and caretakers in the nursing homes.
Since May 2020, CMS and CDC have collected weekly data on each nursing home and numbers of Covid-19 cases. The compiled data reached the White House and CMS will send to states a list of nursing homes with an increase in cases each week, thus outlining the highest risk nursing homes.
In the meantime, while you are hysterically afraid to go to work in your cushy government office, your classroom composed of low risk students, are afraid to eat in a restaurant, or are afraid to come anywhere near another human being before having an irrational meltdown, think about the nursing home residents who have not left their locked-down rooms and buildings since mid-March and their families who have not seen them.