Nursing Home Industry Makes Plea for Protective Masks and Gowns for Workers
On Friday, March 13, Illinois nursing homes, along with every other long-term care facility in the U.S., were told to shut down visits to residents, take steps to isolate residents from one another and start screening for coronavirus symptoms. In Illinois, a nursing home located southwest of Chicago is battling the state’s first long-term care facility coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, March 19, nearly 50 people, including both residents and staff at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook, were tested positive for the highly-contagious disease. Many more staff and residents are expected to be confirmed. Worldwide, “more than 200,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported, and about 8,200 have died,” according to the White House.
Adding concerns to an already highly susceptible group of people, comes a plea from the industry leader representing the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes. David Gifford, chief medical officer at the American Health Care Association, is calling for drastic support efforts and warning that many of these facilities are likely to run out of the tools, resources, staff, and personal protective equipment necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat infected residents. Gear includes protective masks and gowns. The industry group has asked other health care facilities such as dental offices to donate any unneeded supplies to nursing homes in their communities.