Millions Stuck At Home With No Plumbing, Kitchen Or Space To Stay Safe

In nearly half a million American homes, washing hands to prevent COVID-19 isn’t as simple as soaping up and singing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing.

In many of those homes, people can’t even turn on a faucet. There’s no running water.

In 470,000 dwellings in the United States — spread across every state and in most counties — inadequate plumbing is a problem, the starkest of several challenges that make it tougher for people to avoid infection.

That’s according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of data from the Census Bureau and the Housing Assistance Council in Washington, D.C. The analysis reveals other ways that inadequate housing in the United States puts people at risk during this pandemic. Nearly a million homes scattered across almost all counties don’t have complete kitchens, raising the risk of hunger and vulnerability to illness, even as people have been expected to eat all meals

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‘It Hurts Our Soul’: Nursing Home Workers Struggle With Thankless Position

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — In the months before county health officials ordered the evacuation of COVID-19-plagued Magnolia Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, the facility’s employees complained of bounced checks. It sat on a list of the nation’s worst nursing homes for health and safety violations.

But when announcing the unprecedented evacuation of Magnolia’s 83 remaining patients last week, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s health officer, singled out the nursing home’s staff― after only one of its 13 certified nursing assistants showed up for a scheduled shift the previous day.

All health care workers in the age of COVID-19 are heroes, Kaiser said, but “implicit in that heroism is that they stay in their post.” The state licensing board may yet determine that the no-shows at Magnolia, where 34 patients and 16 employees had tested positive for the virus, “rise to the level of abandonment,” he told reporters.

Magnolia’s employees are now struggling

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Before ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Illness, Nursing Home Thought It Had COVID-19 Contained

More than 20 patients have died. Dozens more are still hospitalized. And residents who had already been sent back to a nursing home in Gallatin, Tennessee, have turned up with new cases of COVID-19.

An investigation finds that the facility downplayed the outbreak to first responders on 911 calls in late March. But the nursing home administrator told WPLN News that the coronavirus was unstoppable in Tennessee’s largest outbreak yet.

Dawn Cochran, the administrator of the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, said department heads were summoned to a Saturday night meeting within 20 minutes of learning a staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus. And all employees were notified on March 21, a full week before a mass evacuation began.

But COVID-19 was not a concern expressed in multiple 911 calls made on behalf of patients being sent to the hospital with trouble breathing in the days following

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Readers And Tweeters Stay At Home And Stay In Touch With KHN

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names.

A Time For Comfort

Thank you for your thoughtful piece on palliative care, “Shortfall Of Comfort Care Signals Undue Suffering For Coronavirus Patients” (March 26). The new stimulus package passed by Congress should make it easier to access palliative care via telemedicine during this crisis. The new provisions expand Medicare’s ability to provide telemedicine and expand grant funding for evidence-based telehealth networks and technologies. These provisions will help those in underserved communities access palliative care and all telehealth services.

We must ensure that terminally ill people are not forced into a hospital setting where they are made more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus, dying more quickly or in pain; that’s why these provisions are so crucial during this time. Terminally ill people need

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