LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Several nursing homes across the state and in Los Angeles County have been impacted by coronavirus outbreaks.
Those facilities — caring for the elderly and ill — house some of the most vulnerable populations during this pandemic.
According to officials, approximately 45% of the county’s deaths happen in institutional settings and county supervisors say they want to strengthen protections for the people who live and work at those locations.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is calling for advocates to work with Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials to ensure speedier testing for residents and employees of nursing homes.
He is also pushing for standard protocols to be issued for responding to cases, set staff-to-patient ratios, offer additional pay, overtime and sick leave to workers, and pay employees more who are treating COVID-19 positive patients.
Ridley-Thomas spoke out earlier this month on social media to express that he stands in solidarity with health care workers demanding proper protective gear.
— Mark Ridley-Thomas (@mridleythomas) April 9, 2020
Among the current protection for nursing homes during this pandemic, county health officials have expanded testing to all residents and staff regardless of if they are exhibiting symptoms.
Non-essential visitors are also now barred from visiting nursing homes and communal dining and activities at nursing homes have been suspended until further notice.
County supervisors plan to review proposals Tuesday that are aimed at strengthening protections for nursing home residents and workers.
“Without such measures in place, the potential for outbreaks that can overwhelm the county health system remains high,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services. “During this period marked by so much uncertainty, we are firm in our commitment to assist our health partners across the continuum of care as we all work together to confront and battle this terrible illness.”
As of Monday, L.A. County health officials said at least one coronavirus case has been reported at 312 institutional settings in the county, which includes shelters, jails, prisons, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)