Governor Hogan orders protections for nursing homes
MARYLAND – Governor Larry Hogan is taking action to protect some of the people who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Governor Hogan says the order was put in place after a number of COVID-19 cases began popping up in nursing homes around the state.
Some local nursing homes tell 47ABC that they’ve been expecting an order like this to come down from Annapolis. They say that they’re glad the governor is taking steps to help nursing homes care for not only their residents, but their staff as well. “Our populations are among the most vulnerable and so we’re taking every measure that we can to protect the population,” said president and C.E.O. of Harrison Senior Living, Harrison Saunders.
The order now requires staff to wear personal protective equipment and create separate areas for residents who might be infected with COVID-19. CommuniCare Family of Companies’ spokesman Fred Stratmann tells 47ABC the Anchorage Healthcare Center in Salisbury has been prepared for an order like this for weeks. “They are immunocompromised. They may have underlying conditions that will make them more susceptible and vulnerable to COVID-19, and the PPE rules are in place obviously to protect the residents,” said Stratmann.
Saunders says his facilities are also thinking outside the box to make sure their residents are healthy. He tells 47ABC that the company is figuring out ways to pressurize isolation rooms, much like at hospitals. “We began brainstorming how we could do something similar in our buildings. I was just down in Snow Hill, Salisbury, and Georgetown on Friday to inspect what the physical plan teams had worked up,” said Saunders. Saunders says that all new admissions to his nursing homes are being placed in separate observation facilities to make sure they’re healthy.
Governor Hogan’s order also requires nursing homes to expedite COVID-19 testing through the state’s laboratory, and helps to guarantee that residents who may stay in the hospital have a place in the nursing homes when they come back. “If we have residents who need to be moved to maybe a centralized isolation unit or isolation building, that they have the right to return to the building they came from when the crisis is over,” said Stratmann.
For more information about the governor’s order, you can visit the governor’s website.