‘Major crisis.’ Midlothian nursing home blames COVID outbreak on new regulations

Midlothian, TX - The Midlothian HealthCare Center announced on Friday that 41 residents have been tested positive for COVID-19 after new state regulations were put into place a few weeks ago, which caused the facility to move residents around the building. Among the positive tests are 25 staff members.

“We are in a major crisis at the facility,” managing member Greg Loudermilk wrote on the facility’s website in a message that was directed to family members of residents.

Loudermilk, who spoke with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday, said he’s been a nursing home administrator for 22 years and the last eight months have been the hardest of his career.

“It’s been a very difficult and stressful situation for everybody,” he said.

At least two deaths at the nursing home since March can be tied to COVID-19, he said, explaining that one death was a man who arrived with a positive test and was already on hospice. Of the sick residents, at least 10 have recovered.

But things became complicated when new state regulations required the center and others like it to create a quarantine unit to house people who have symptoms but are waiting tests, people who were hospitalized, and people who are new to the facility or who had been exposed to the virus, Laudermilk said.

“We had discussed this previously and had no area of the building we could do this with because of the amount of residents we had,” he wrote.

Employees moved half of the building off of the south side to the north to create the state-regulated unit.

“Having done that we believe it caused further exposure in the facility which increased the numbers,” he wrote. “In addition, the numbers in surrounding areas continue to increase and this always causes outbreaks in nursing homes.”

As residents were moved from one hallway to another, rapid tests were given out, he wrote.

“The above all happened in an 8 hour period,” Loudermilk wrote. “We scrambled to come up with a plan, and in the meantime, we began to run out of nurses due to them being out with COVID. The administrative nurses have all gone to work on the floor because there is just no one else to do it.”

The facility contacted with three agencies to get some temporary nurses and aides, but none have been sent to the center, Loudermilk wrote.

“I actually contacted three more since then,” he said. “They said they don’t have staff to send us.”

He’s offered the facilities normal nurse staff Walmart gift cards up to $200 for covering extra shifts if they’re healthy.

“They are very tired and we are all struggling,” he said.

The staff is testing residents twice a week. And Loudermilk said there hope.

“I feel like we’re on the downhill slope of this thing,” he said. “As far as the health care workers, whenever numbers in the community go up, they go up here. We went months with no cases, but this last increase got us some.”

Source: The Star Telegram