Nursing Home Evacuated After Staff Doesn't Show Up For Work 2 Days In A Row
Riverside, CA – Riverside County officials had to evacuate 83 residents from a nursing home after the staff failed to show up to take care of them, two days in a row.
Riverside County Public Health officials said in a press release on Wednesday that only one certified nursing assistant (CNA) showed up for work at the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center although 13 had been scheduled.
Initially, 33 licensed nurses from Riverside University Health System and Kaiser Permanente were sent to the nursing home to fill the gap, but public health officials said staffing demands forced the health department to evacuate Magnolia and relocate its residents.
Five staff members and 34 residents of the nursing home have tested positive for coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to the press release.
Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, said that the county became aware there was a problem after they investigated COVID-19 cases at the Extended Care Hospital of Riverside, which is located next door to Magnolia, The Press-Enterprise reported.
Kaiser said 26 staff members and 28 patients had tested positive at Extended Care Hospital of Riverside.
He said only two employees had tested positive at Magnolia Rehabilitation as of April 3, according to The Press Enterprise.
Kaiser said he became aware of the staffing deficiency after Magnolia made an “unusual” large request for help.
He said the center reported a “substantial” number of staff had not shown up for work, The Press-Enterprise reported.
The situation got so bad that two days in a row, only one CNA reported to work.
One patient in hospice died on Wednesday before he could be evacuated, according to The Press-Enterprise.
“Nationwide, all of our health care workers are considered heroes and they rightly are,” Kaiser told reporters on Wednesday. “They are the first line of defense in our hospitals, our clinics, our laboratories, our pharmacies and our long-term facilities. But implicit in that heroism is that people stay at their post.”
“I am concerned this could rise to the level of abandonment, no matter how justified the reasoning might be, and the state licensing board will have to determine [that],” he added.
Kaiser said he didn’t have the exact number of employees who had failed to report for work, nor did he know the circumstances of those individuals, The Press-Enterprise reported.
He said the health department was not aware of Magnolia employees having any shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear at work.
The Press-Enterprise reported that the president of the company that owns Magnolia Rehabilitation had not responded to requests for comment.