The problem is obvious.
Discharges of coronavirus patients are starting to pick up in New York. And then in California. Some of those people may be discharged unable to breathe on their own. They’re going to be on ventilators and that means that they’ll likely be sent to skilled nursing facilities.
And coronavirus tends to hit the elderly hardest. Even assuming they’re able to breathe on their own, some will be going to skilled nursing facilities.
On the one hand, hospitals need space. On the other, the elderly are the most vulnerable population to the disease. And this thing spreads in nursing homes like the plague.
California’s solution to force skilled nursing facilities to accept coronavirus patients is a death sentence for other residents. These places are often badly run to begin with. Combine an infectious disease that targets the elderly, and this is just plain murder.
Specifically, according to the letter, SNFs in California should:
Prevent introduction of COVID-19 into their facility;
Detect COVID-19 in their facility;
Prepare to receive residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection;
Prepare to care for residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection; and
Prevent spread of COVID-19 within their facility.
Good luck with that checklist.
1. Keep coronavirus out of your facility
2. Admin coronavirus patients to your facility
Obviously coronavirus patients have to go somewhere. But that somewhere shouldn’t be an elderly population which, at an SNF, will be particularly frail and vulnerable, and may already suffer from breathing problems.
A March 30 state order to skilled nursing homes said the facilities “shall not refuse to admit or readmit a resident based on their status as a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.”
In California, Contra Costa Health Services said Friday that at least 27 people who live or work at a skilled nursing facility in Orinda, California, have tested positive for COVID-19. No deaths have been reported in connection with the outbreak.
In Yucaipa, in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles, eight nursing home residents were hospitalized in a coronavirus outbreak that infected more than 50 people and killed two of them, officials said earlier this week. Six staff members also tested positive for the virus.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported four new deaths at skilled nursing or assisted-living facilities.
Gov. Gavin Newsom alluded to the dispute Friday, though he didn’t directly address any of the criticisms about potentially bringing the sick into nursing homes.
“We continue to also focus with acuity on what’s happening in our skilled nursing facilities, what’s happening with our senior centers and our adult care facilities throughout the state,” he said. “We said at the beginning of this epidemic that homelessness and our seniors, those were our top priorities. They remain so.”
Even in Newsom’s rhetoric, the homeless come ahead of seniors.
But seniors are Newsom’s top priority. That’s why he seems to want to kill them.