Virginia Nursing Home Deaths Top 1,000

by Kerry Dougherty

Anyone here remember the very beginning of the nursing home crisis in Virginia?

Remember when we learned that a home in Henrico County, a facility where some residents reportedly had been stacked for a time like cordwood – three to a room – was in the midst of a deadly outbreak?

Last time I checked 51 residents of the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center had died. For a while it was the deadliest place in America.

Intelligent people demanded more information on nursing homes. They wanted to know which homes were having outbreaks, how many people were sick in each and how many people had succumbed to the virus.

The governor stubbornly refused to divulge that data even though he had it. Instead, like an oblivious doctor writing off the elderly, he claimed that privacy rights of nursing homes where people were dying trumped the right of the public to know what was going on behind closed doors.

His attorney general Mark Herring – another alum of the Virginia Democratic Blackface Club – backed him up.

No way the public could see this information, we were told. It would be illegal.

Meanwhile, the ghastly numbers kept climbing. Every day more and more people in unnamed nursing homes perished while the governor concerned himself with Confederate statues, Frisbee tossing and loud music on the beach.

Until Friday, that is.

I was one of the first to report on Twitter that the nursing home death toll had hit 1,000. Worse, that the percentage of Virginia’s fatalities had climbed to 62 in those death traps.

On Friday Northam used a common political trick to try to hide the fact that he was reversing his secretive policy nursing home information: a virtual document dump, right before a holiday weekend.

He ordered the Virginia Department of Health to put some — but not all — details about nursing homes on its website. Information the department and Northam sat on for months.

A spokesman explained Northam’s about-face with gibberish about the numbers being so high now that no one’s privacy could now be invaded. Apparently the death toll had to reach quadruple digits before the Northam administration would act.

Chew on that for a minute.

House Minority leader Todd Gilbert was incensed about the delay.

“I cannot fathom the reasoning behind the Governor’s announcement today,” Gilbert said Friday. “Families have sought this information — information they could use to protect their loved ones from a lethal threat — for months. Now, after the body count in nursing homes reaches 1,000, the governor has reversed course.

“If it is legal to release the information now, it was legal to release it when it was first requested,” he said. “Perhaps, had the governor not been distracted by his political rehabilitation, he could have realized this earlier and lives could have been saved. Incompetence kills, and there is a great deal of incompetence from this governor.”

Incompetence? That’s polite. Looks more like cold indifference to the most vulnerable members of our society.

There’s more.

Three months into Virginia’s nursing home catastrophe Northam is finally sending $246 million in federal funds to facilities for staffing, infection control and for PPEs.

Yep, the death toll had to hit 1,000 (it stands at 1,004 on Sunday) before the governor even addressed the simple issue of personal protection equipment for nursing home staff.

This governor wasted precious time imposing burdensome rules on healthy Virginians while ignoring the desperate needs of those most at risk of dying of Covid-19.

Disgraceful.

This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.

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6 responses to “Virginia Nursing Home Deaths Top 1,000

  1. My governor is an idiot. Maryland has reported the COVID19 statistics from nursing homes in great detail. However, Maryland is among the vast majority of states where unlimited campaign contributions are not allowed for state officials. Let’s all be honest – out state government has been bought and paid for by special interests. Special interests who don’t want you to know where the carnage of the elderly is happening. Disgraceful is right.

  2. The media is delighting in reported “spikes” in several states, but when you look at the state by state case numbers on the Johns Hopkins web pages you can see a steady, near straight line rise in most of those states. They were not at their peak or seeing case reductions before they started to relax restrictions, no 14-days of declines….But if in those states they are controlling the virus in their congregate settings and their old-age facilities, perhaps we’ve seen the highest death rates. Absent a total lockdown, which didn’t happen then and isn’t going to now, we’ll just have to cope with more and more cases. The vulnerable know who they are and need to be extra cautious.

    I stand by my previous opinion that the worry was and is the financial liability of the government itself, which owns and operates many of these facilities, finances them with state and federal programs, and is totally responsible for their regulation. Get sick on the beach, who do you sue? But die in a nursing home and the lawsuit target is obvious. The Left is in a nice tight spot, because if you lift sovereign immunity to sue the cops, it will also apply to the government’s role in the nursing home massacres.

    • How would the government be liable for deaths in a privately-owned nursing home?

      • Dick, They should be liable because they refused to tell the public which nursing homes had a problem so that a problem could be avoided– a very ordinary kind of liability. If you fall off the ladder when you go above such and such step on the ladder and the ladder company didn’t tell you not to, the ladder company is liable because a ladder is considered inherently dangerous. So is a coronvirus.

        • With that logic, the owners of the nursing homes should have disclosed to the patients, families of patients, and prospective patients that patients and staff of the facilities had tested positive for the coronavirus. If they did not so disclose, would not that make them liable? It seems that the owner of a nursing home, rather than the government, is analogous to the ladder company.

  3. Interesting that the “outbreak” section of the VDH Corona virus site does not include ethnicity.

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