Nursing Home Workers Confront Risks in Facilities Devastated by Coronavirus

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The coronavirus pandemic has devastated nursing homes across the country. There have been more than 35,000 COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)— a figure that accounts for about a third of the country’s coronavirus deaths. 

Many nursing home employees work second jobs, which increases their risk of contracting the virus and unwittingly carrying it to residents.

“If the aides were paid a living wage, they would not need to have multiple jobs,” says Joanne Spetz, director of the Health Workforce Research Center for Long-Term Care at the University of California, San Francisco. “That forces the workers to put themselves at more and more risk to support themselves, and that also puts their clients at risk and their residents at risk.”

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