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Report: Veterans home failed to protect residents from virus

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Report: Veterans home failed to protect residents from virus

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state-run veterans nursing home in Pennsylvania where 42 residents have died of COVID-19 failed to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, state Health Department inspectors concluded.

Health inspectors said in a report that Southeastern Veterans’ Center, a 292-bed facility outside Philadelphia, ignored state and federal guidelines meant to control the virus in nursing homes. The lapses put 128 of the facility’s 154 residents in “immediate jeopardy,” according to the Health Department — a legal finding that means Southeastern placed its patients at risk of serious injury or death.

The June 9 inspection found that Southeastern didn’t isolate residents with COVID-19 from residents who had tested negative for the virus; failed to ensure that staff wore protective gear or washed their hands; shuttled nursing staff between COVID-positive units and regular units, and neglected to disinfect equipment.

The facility didn’t have a testing and tracing program, and an infected staffer returned to work two days after testing positive, said the report, which was recently posted online.

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“Watching people die was awful. We were told to wrap the residents in a body bag and meet the undertaker at the elevator,” the report quoted a nurse as telling inspectors. “We had problems, we knew some residents had something, but no one would do anything.”

The nurse also told inspectors that “we will be fired for talking to you,” according to the report.

Southeastern eventually turned to hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that President Donald Trump once touted as a COVID-19 preventative, according to state Sen. Katie Muth, a Democrat whose district includes Southeastern. Studies have since found hydroxychloroquine did not help hospitalized […]

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