May 23, 2020 10:00 PM

Kan. nursing home aide allowed to work despite virus symptoms

Posted May 23, 2020 10:00 PM
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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City nursing home with 81 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths allowed a nurse’s aide to work despite having symptoms of the illness, a new state report shows.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services cited Brighton Gardens in Prairie Village, Kansas, on May 11 after finding that it placed residents in “immediate jeopardy related to the spread of COVID-19.”

Records show that the aide recorded having positive symptoms of COVID-19 on a screening form on April 16 and April 17 but was still allowed to care for residents in seven rooms. The employee, along with three residents, then tested positive for COVID-19 on April 22.

The documents also cited issues with improper use of personal protective equipment and inadequate cleaning. Additionally, a staff member said that sometimes the person taking employees’ temperatures at the start of each shift “did not wipe off the temporal thermometer before taking the next person’s,” the records said.

The “Immediate Jeopardy” tag, which is the most severe citation, describes a provider’s noncompliance that “has caused or is likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The tag was removed after the facility addressed concerns related to the screening of employees for COVID-19.

Denise Falco, regional vice president of operations for Sunrise Senior Living, which owns Brighton Gardens, said Thursday evening in an emailed statement that it “swiftly” took steps to retrain staff on screening protocols.

“We take our responsibility to our residents seriously and move decisively whenever improvements may be needed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kansas was beginning to reopen further Friday as unemployment numbers soared to 11.2% in April from a historical low of 2.8% in March, according to preliminary estimates reported by the Kansas Department of Labor.

Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs decreased by 130,400 from March. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, decreased by 121,600 from the previous month, while government decreased by 8,800 jobs.

The maximum size of mass gatherings has increased from 10 to 15 people, and state-owned casinos can reopen, along with theaters, museums, bowling alleys and other indoor leisure places. Sports tournaments and practices also can resume, with some exceptions. But bars, nightclubs and swimming pools must stay closed for now, and individual communities can approve stricter rules.

Johns Hopkins University reported 204 deaths and 8,600 cases, although the number is believed to be higher because of limits in testing.