Twice as many residents caught COVID-19 at Mississippi’s for-profit nursing homes, and nearly three times more died there, an analysis of health data by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting shows.
The average number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in these for-profit homes? Four in 10 residents.
One possible factor: 80% of Mississippi’s nursing homes had already been cited for infection-control problems before the pandemic hit.
Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco who discovered similar results in a just-released study of nursing homes in California, said the current pandemic is exposing problems that have persisted for decades. “We’ve just looked the other way for 30 years,” she said.
OSHA has been investigating three nursing homes in Mississippi, all of them for-profit, for workplace catastrophes or fatalities, including Lakeside Health & Rehabilitation Center in Quitman. One of the home’s nursing assistants, Carole Faye Doby of Stonewall, died of COVID May 15, and two residents also died of the disease.
A week or more before she contracted the coronavirus, Doby warned her family that “things were getting bad at the nursing home, and that we didn’t need to come around,” recalled her daughter, Shenika Jackson of Clinton.
She said her mother shared that a fellow worker and a resident (who later died) had both come down with the disease.
On May 6, Doby was tested for COVID. Days later, they saw her on Mother’s Day, Jackson said. “We did see her on Sunday, Mother’s Day. We sat outside the porch and ate lunch. She was inside the window.”
By May 11, her mother still didn’t have results and continued to get sicker so she saw a doctor, who had her rushed to the hospital by ambulance, Jackson said.
Because of COVID, she couldn’t visit with her