HOMEWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — The safety of health care workers has been a huge problem in Chicago and across the country amid this coronavirus crisis.
On Tuesday night, presumed cases at a south suburban rehab center has some essential workers wanting to turn away and walk out.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, there are two presumed positive cases at ManorCare Health Services in Homewood. They are being treated elsewhere.
But some staff members are concerned that not enough was done form the start, and the number of positive cases could rise.
ManorCare serves some of the most vulnerable, like so many similar facilities are grappling with covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 400 long –term facilities across the country have positive cases.
“I’m afraid to go to work,” said one current ManorCare employee. “It is impossible to me that we have not been exposed
The employee asked that her voice be changed for her protection.
“It would be difficult to stop at this point,” she said. “I think precautions could have been taken quite some time ago.”
While there is now an isolation unit for those patients showing symptoms of COVID-19 at ManorCare, and signs alert staff to get their temperature checked, the employee said it is not really enforced.
“No, not at all,” she said.
Visitor restrictions at ManorCare went into place March 14. New patients were still accepted until sometime last week, when the first presumed positive COVID-19 case was identified.
“It should’ve been done much, much earlier,” the employee said. “They should’ve stopped admitting people at the same time they stopped letting family and friends come visit.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Weatherspoon is concerned that her loved one at the rehab center was unnecessarily exposed to another patient who was possibly displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
“They put another patient in the room. I was like, ‘OK,’” Weatherspoon said. “And that’s when she said the lady was very alert – she turned around she said. ‘I have a fever,’ and then she threw up.”
With regard to the presumed positive case, ManorCare said it has reported the situation to the Health Department, contacted families, isolated high-risk patients, reemphasized COVID-19 protocols, stopped group activities, monitored patients and staff, and restricted visitation.
The facility is also holding all new admissions, isolating at-risk patients, taking symptom and temperature checks of all residents, increasing sanitizing procedures, and reviewing personal protective equipment inventory.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize risks associated with COVID-19 in our facility. We are in very close communication with our medical director, clinical support team, local and state health officials about the appropriate steps to serve the best interests of our patients, employees and visitors. We are instructing our staff and patients to follow the recommended preventative actions,” spokeswoman Jullie Beckert wrote in the statement.
Beckert continued: “We feel we have very intense protocols in place including an isolation unit. Any non-essential partners will not be allowed in the center. No new admissions. We have talked to employees and families about this. Temperature and symptom checks of all employees at least twice a shift. We have universal masking for employees and full PPE for those working on isolation unit. We have sanitizing, housekeeping and laundry guidelines in place along with processes for employees to remain safe. We are taking an abundance of precautionary measures to protect everyone.”