An assisted living facility in Atlanta faces at least four wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of residents at the nursing home diagnosed with COVID-19, or coronavirus infections.
The complaints were filed by relatives of Catherine Hendrix, Blanche Johnson, Eddie Johnson, Jr., and Ernestine Mann, all of whom recently died while living in the Arbor Terrace at Cascade assisted living facility. The lawsuits claim that the nursing home staff and management failed to take adequate steps to protect residents from the coronavirus pandemic, according to various news sources.
Arbor Terrace, which allows much more independent living by residents when compared to other types of nursing homes, is facing increasing pressure to shut down, following at least 16 deaths caused by COVID-19. In addition, state health experts say 52 residents and 34 staff members have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections.
The Georgia National Guard has been called to the facility twice to sanitize it this month alone, and plaintiffs say the uncontrolled spread of the virus is likely the result of nursing home neglect by staff members themselves, who they say often visited family members without personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. The administrators have denied those allegations.
The nursing home COVID-19 lawsuits come as Georgia continues to be hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, especially in long-term care facilities. The Georgia Department of Health reports that more than 300 nursing home residents have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite that, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has pushed for the state to re-open its economy, eliciting outrage and concern from doctors, scientists, health experts and even drawing a rebuke from President Donald Trump.
Nursing homes in general have been a major epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. There were about 4,000 nursing home deaths linked to the pandemic earlier this month, and that number has likely continued to grow.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urged nursing homes to use separate staff and separate sections of their facilities specifically for COVID-19 patients to help protect other residents and staff from falling ill.
There are currently more than 855,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, with more than 48,000 deaths linked to the ongoing pandemic.