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(LITITZ, Pa.-LititzDailyNews.com) – Two residents at United Zion Retirement Community in Lititz have tested positive for COVID-19 and one has died, according to a statement released by UZRC on Monday, April 27. LititzDailyNews.com broke the story that employees tested positive there last week. The facility went public with an announcement that “a few” employees had tested positive after LititzDailyNews.com asked management to confirm the infections.
On April 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) directed nursing homes to “use consistent assignment (meaning the assignment of staff to certain patients and residents) for all patients and residents regardless of symptoms or COVID-19 status.”
Now after the death of one resident, infections in two, and three COVID-19+ staff members, UZRC announced it will make those changes.
“Our team made the decision today [April 27] to assign dedicated teams to each healthcare unit for providing resident care. These designated teams will work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among residents and team members,” it reads. Why the facility delayed acting on that federal guidance is unclear.
The non-profit also plans to permit staff who previously tested positive for COVID-19 who it claims have recovered to return to work.
“This week, we look forward to welcoming back the staff who have recovered from the virus. Our team members are our brave heroes on the front lines, working under challenging conditions and going above and beyond each day to deliver compassionate care to the residents,” the statement reads.
Questions regarding UZRC’s protocol for evaluating the fitness of employees to return to work who have had COVID-19 that were emailed to UZRC and acknowledged as received yesterday have not received a response.
UZRC has also not responded to requests for information regarding when staff and residents tested positive for the disease. The April 27 statement on the UZRC website alludes to requirements for privacy under HIPPA as a justification for providing scant information, but there is nothing in that law that prohibits the release of information such as dates of probable infection, dates of testing, number of COVID+ cases, and deaths, as it is information that does not directly identify patients.
In 2018, United Zion Retirement Community was fined $156,419 by the state after a resident sustained a broken neck as the result of a fall deemed failure by UZRC staff to protect the resident from neglect, according to reports on Propublica.com, Pennsylvania DOH records, and federal records found on Medicare.gov. Staff at UZRC also failed to report the injury to the state Department of Aging as required under laws that protect residents from abuse and neglect.
LititzDailyNews.com is an INDEPENDENT news site that receives its only support from readers like YOU. While other publications focus on the county and the city, and a local paper is busy publishing old news from years ago, LititzDailyNews is keeping you current with daily original reporting on how this deadly disease is impacting the Lititz community. News to keep your family safe and informed. Please support continued publication of our local COVID-19 coverage with your non-tax-deductible donation with $1 or more through the PayPal button below.
Lynn Rebuck is the editor and publisher of award-winning LititzDailyNews.com, the only independent digital news source in Lititz. Lynn is an award-winning photojournalist who was invited to the White House and has received top recognition from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and has been profiled in Editor & Publisher magazine for her unparalleled dedication to publishing LititzDailyNews.com to benefit the community.