How Management Failures May Have Led to the Windsor Redding Covid Outbreak
Long-term care centers have been a Covid-19 hotspot since the virus reached America’s shores, with the first outbreak in our nation linked to a nursing home just outside Seattle. Months later, nursing homes including Windsor Redding Care Center in Shasta County, CA saw outbreaks of their own despite government measures meant to keep residents safe. Our attorneys have been investigating the outbreak at Windsor Redding Care Center and are representing families of patients who contracted Covid-19 at the facility.
About the Outbreak at Windsor Redding Care Center
In late August of 2020, Windsor Redding Care Center started to report an uptick in positive Covid-19 tests among staff and patients. As of January 2021, the facility has reported at least 65 cases and 22 deaths among residents (data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sources lists 73 cases, but only 16 deaths). Staff members accounted for an additional 26 cases. Though Windsor Redding is far from the only nursing home affected by the pandemic—almost 100% of the state’s skilled-nursing facilities have confirmed Covid-19 cases among their populations, and over 11,000 residents have died—information on the roots of the facility’s outbreak suggests it was entirely preventable.
Some blame the rapid antigen tests sent to nursing homes, which often return false results. However, outbreaks are typically the result of multiple factors. We have reason to believe the facility had shortcomings in its policies and practices that allowed the virus to flourish.
Windsor Redding Exhibits 3 of 4 Covid-19 Outbreak Risk Factors, According to a California Study
At the end of 2020, the California Health Care Foundation released a study of more than 800 nursing homes that experienced Covid-19 outbreaks between May and August. Nursing homes have been host to around 1 in 4 Covid-19 deaths in California despite housing 0.5% of the state’s population. The study found 4 factors associated with outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities:
- For-profit status (as opposed to non-profit of government-run)
- More than 99 licensed beds
- Staffing levels below recommendations
- Resident demographics including age and sex
Windsor Redding is a for-profit nursing home with 113 licensed beds. While it has above-average staffing when it comes to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), at an average of 1 hour and 7 minutes per resident per day, its Registered Nurse (RN) hours per resident per day are a lowly 22 minutes—much below the 48 minutes per resident per day recommended by professionals.
We do not have demographic information that would allow us to determine whether Windsor Redding Care Center has a population especially vulnerable to Covid-19 (over the age of 85 and with more male than female residents).
Lax Testing, Sick Leave Policies Likely Drove Spread
Though the state of California created strict testing requirements for nursing homes when the Covid-19 pandemic began, evidence suggests Windsor Redding was one of many facilities that did not follow these guidelines. In fact, Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom noted the outbreak was likely being driven by employees of the home. Nursing home staff, who may be paid close to minimum wage, often work multiple jobs and may regularly go back and forth between facilities. This makes them a potential vector for disease, especially during a pandemic.
Worse, our attorneys have learned Windsor Redding Care Center required workers to use all their accrued sick leave and vacation time before they would be offered the Covid-19 leave guaranteed by the state. The home pushed back against attempts to give ill workers time off: More than one nurse came to work with symptoms of Covid-19 and was forced to work that day. This is a clear violation of California law and, indeed, of common sense.
The Facility Was Cited for Violating Multiple Safety Guidelines During the Pandemic
Windsor Redding was also cited for 14 deficiencies in 8 health inspections between January and August of 2020. In the most recent report available from ProPublica, dated Aug 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) cited the facility for failing to “provide and implement an infection prevention and control program.” Specific violations include:
- Failing to quarantine patients exposed to Covid-19
- Quarantining multiple patients in the same room
- Having Covid-positive nurses provide patient care
- Failing to pause patient intake despite positive Covid-19 tests
The facility was also mentioned in a Washington Post article outlining infection control failures such as failing to provide nurses with masks and other PPE. It is easy to see how these failures likely contributed to the serious outbreak at the end of August.
You May Be Able to Bring a Case Against Windsor Redding
Residents who contracted Covid-19 or the family members of those who tragically passed away due to infection may have legal recourse. By filing a lawsuit, you could be able to recover compensation for medical treatment necessitated by Covid-19 and its complications along with other damages. You can also help hold Windsor Redding Care Center accountable for the bad choices that led to this outbreak in the first place.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for patients. When they fail to do so, those who are directly harmed can use the law to make a difference. Our team at Kershaw, Cook & Talley is dedicated to helping patients fight back against negligent nursing homes and care providers. Let us help you fight for the justice you deserve.
Call us at (916) 520-6639 to schedule a free consultation with our nursing home abuse attorneys.