San Diego County won’t name assisted living homes with COVID-19July 23, 2020
Assisted living homes weren’t designed to face a pandemic. Unlike skilled nursing homes, they don’t have nurses on-site at all hours to help patients who are ill.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Behind the doors of a spacious house in Chula Vista, Aury McDaniel was caring for six residents when the coronavirus pandemic struck this year.
By the end of May, five residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and three of them were dead.
McDaniel, 69, owns the assisted living facility and believes one of the aides contracted the virus from her husband, then brought it into the home before experiencing symptoms. By the time the worker felt sick after work one day, it was too late.
Then McDaniel contracted the virus. So did another one of her caregivers. So did all of her residents, except one who declined to be tested.
And so did McDaniel’s husband, who was rushed to the hospital with difficulty breathing. After about a month in the ICU, he is now recovering at the assisted living home in a private room. He’s taken up the bed of a 94-year-old resident who died from COVID-19.
The resident, Betty Gentry, was a veteran who served as a nurse’s assistant in World War II and the Korean War. She was taken to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in late April with a bad cough. Her son Chris called the hospital to tell his mom he loved her.
Betty, weak and hard of hearing, mustered the strength needed for a one-word reply: “Same.”
She died in her sleep on May 13 as a result of cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, pneumonia and COVID-19.
“My mother died from this virus when she didn’t need to die,” Chris Gentry said. “She didn’t need to be in a situation where she was going to be contaminated by this.”
Despite the tragedy at Aury’s Home Care, there’s no way for the public to see that the assisted living facility was affected by the virus.
Citing health privacy laws, the state has refused to name assisted living facilities with six or fewer beds that have had COVID-19 cases, including Aury’s Home Care. San Diego County health officials won’t release the names of any local facilities — even those with seven or more beds — that have been affected by the virus, despite frequent…