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Employees at Metro Detroit nursing home concerned amid facility's first known COVID-19 case

person holding test tubes with blue gloves on
Trust "Tru" Katsande
person holding test tubes with blue gloves on

A metro Detroit nursing home has seen its first presumed positive case of COVID-19, and some are concerned about the safety of the employees.

The Heartland Health Care Facility in Livonia is where the resident tested presumed positive for the virus.

Kenya Blackburn, one of the employees there, says she thinks management dragged its feet handling the virus.

“They did not move quick enough, they did not quarantine the room, they notified everybody at the last minute, they sent people home at the last minute,” Blackburn said.

Andrea Acevedo, the president of Service Employees International Union – which represents all of the employees at the nursing home except administrative staff, says she’s concerned this facility doesn’t have enough protective gear likes masks and gloves.

“Not all facilities have masks and gloves to provide their workers who provide the direct contact and care to the patients,” Acevedo said.

SEIU says at least 20 workers have been sent home as a precaution in case they were exposed to the virus.

A spokeswoman for Heartland Health Care sent Michigan Radio a copy of a statement from the company saying the company has been making sure to follow all the CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19.

“The Department of Health notified Heartland Health Care Center that we have a presumed positive case of COVID-19. A “presumed positive case” means the CDC still needs to confirm the positive finding. Although the individual is not currently in the center, the health and well-being of our patients and employees remains our top priority,” Heartland said in a statement.

More from Heartland Health Care:

“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. 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 the presumptive positive case. 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.”

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Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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