LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - The grandson of a COVID-19 patient at a Lauderdale nursing home has expressed his concern over how many other people at his grandmother’s nursing home may have the virus.
The family of 89-year-old Earnestein Aikens said it has been very difficult getting any information out of the Nspire Lauderhill nursing home.
“My grandmother has raised me since I was 2 weeks old,” Carl Young said. “She has been mom, dad, everything.”
The state of Florida posts the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes online, but there have been discrepancies in the number of deaths at Nspire Lauderhill.
The state database says just one person has died. The Broward County medical examiner, however, said there have been five COVID-19 deaths at the nursing home.
“You have a large number of families left in the dark,” he said. “We are not being provided information.”
Young said he is not happy with how the facility is handling the pandemic. He also claimed that several employees have quit because of the lack of transparency inside of the facility.
When asked if his family had been told about the deaths, Young said, “No, the only way my family — not directly from Nspire, Brian — my family was notified of the deaths by staff who are no longer employed.”
Nursing home expert Brian Lee studies Florida’s data every day, and he said he has found discrepancies across the state, which makes it difficult for families trying to keep track of COVID-19 cases inside facilities.
“The data transparency has taken a very long time for it to actually come online,” Lee said. “We are seeing discrepancies with what is being published. Unfortunately, still, people are turning on the nightly news and learning that their loved one’s facility has had a COVID outbreak or someone died.”
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been hit hard by the coronavirus. In Florida, at least 665 residents and staff have died, and 319 of those deaths, nearly half the state’s total, have been in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“I’m sure I am not alone in all of this,” Young said. “I am not the only one calling Channel 7 wanting help to get answers, so hopefully something can get done to help, not just my grandmother, but every resident.”
Nspire Lauderhill said they are committed to the safety and protection of staff and residents.
In a statement, Miriam Pastor, the facility’s president, said in part, “Out of respect for the privacy of all involved, we will not comment publicly on COVID-19 cases. We will continue to communicate timely with the proper healthcare agencies, families, staff and residents as necessary and appropriate. If families have concerns about their loved one, we encourage them to contact the care center directly.”
Carl said to this day, his family has not been officially notified about the deaths.
“It’s frustrating because now you are playing this waiting game, and you are not being communicated with,” Young said.
The state has since updated their online numbers to show that there are four deaths at the nursing home.
7News has reached out to the state for comment, but they have yet to explain the discrepancies that continued for so long.
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