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State’s Best laid Plans Are Not At All Foolproof

It’s hard to understand how COVID-19 spread so quickly inside Tanglewood Manor if all of the state’s nursing home and assisted living guidelines for testing were being followed.

After all, one of the reasons families haven’t been allowed to visit with loved ones inside the facility since three Tanglewood residents tested positive for COVID-19 in early September. If the virus didn’t come in through family members, how did it?

If it was through staff, how did the infected staff members so quickly infect so many residents? Were the residents wearing masks inside the facility to protect themselves? Photos posted on the facility’s Facebook page show they weren’t.

Forty-seven COVID-19 cases inside a facility here, with all of the precautions that have been mandated by the state, simply shouldn’t happen.

One can have legitimate debate over some of the state’s COVID policies for those who are young and healthy. There should be little debate that nursing home policies protect those most at risk from COVID-19 and must be followed, even visitation limitations that are cruel for families and nursing home or assisted living residents.

Speaking of families, families of Tanglewood residents would have liked to have known as early as possible that COVID was spreading through the facility. County health officials knew as early as Friday that there was a concentration of cases at Tanglewood. Four positive tests came back Friday, four more on Saturday and six more on Sunday. On the county’s end, public notification of the outbreak should have happened Friday or Saturday at the latest, and all facilities should have some sort of plan to notify families much sooner than four days after an outbreak begins.

Availability of a vaccine against COVID-19 cannot come too quickly for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That may be the only hope some have of surviving the epidemic — because clearly, the state’s best laid plans aren’t foolproof.

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