The family of a woman who died while staying at a Michigan nursing home, and some former staffers, have accused bosses of refusing to allow employees to protect themselves from the coronavirus while at work, according to multiple reports.
Denny Williams’ mother, Wanda Parker, died from COVID-19 April 7, just days after she was taken to an area hospital from the Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation, where she had been staying, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Williams and his family, and a handful of employees from Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation have sued, alleging the facility prohibited workers from wearing masks.
Williams told the newspaper that workers – who he said didn’t appear to wear face coverings or other protective equipment when he visited his mother through a window – told him they “could not” wear it.
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“All she kept saying was, ‘please help me’. I still don’t sleep well because of that. I have nightmares about it,” Williams later told local news station WXYZ Detroit. “She was taken from us for no good reason.”
Taylor Minifield, who worked for the Villages as a certified nursing assistant, told WXYZ she tried wearing a mask at work to protect her mother, who had cancer, per doctors’ advice.
She said her boss “snatched it off my face and threw it in the trash.”
Minifield and Harden are now suing.
Another former CNA, Tasha Harden, told WXYZ their boss once sent two employees home, “both because they refused to take their masks off.”
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According to the Detroit Free Press, nursing home managers also “refused to test residents or staff,” and would not let its workers stay home sick unless they had fevers.
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services reported that 19 people who lived at the 87-bed home died from COVID-19, according to the outlet. Meanwhile, 47 other patients, and 16 employees, contracted the virus, WXYZ reported.
As of July 31, more than 2,000, or 31%, of Michigan’s coronavirus-related deaths were linked to nursing homes.
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In a statement provided to both outlets, the Villages of Lapeer said it was “not in a position to provide comment.”
“We can say that The Villages of Lapeer has been and will continue to cooperate with the involved parties,” the statement further reads. “Please be assured that The Villages of Lapeer is committed to continuing to provide high quality care and support to our residents and their families, as well as support for all of our staff during these challenging times.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.