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LA County Supervisors Want More Pay and Protections For Nursing Home Staff

Bixby Knolls Towers in Long Beach is among the skilled nursing homes identified by the California Dept. of Health as having confirmed COVID-19 cases among both staff and residents. Megan Garvey / LAist
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A motion passed unanimously Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calls for county representatives to work with Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials to mandate extra pay and sick leave for nursing home workers. They also want the state to ban retaliation against staff who request personal protective gear like masks and gloves.

More than 200 nursing homes have at least one COVID-19 case, and nursing home staff account for the majority of health worker deaths in the county.

L.A. County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly told the board that an increase in COVID-19 cases at nursing homes could spell disaster for area hospitals.

“If they become unable to maintain care for their residents, the crisis in the skilled nursing facilities presents the biggest risk to the ongoing stability of the overall health and hospital system across the county,” she said.

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Ghaly said there are about 41,000 nursing home residents in the county, and on any given day only 2,000 available hospital beds.

The board's motion was amended to include a request for protections for workers in long-term care, assisted living and board and care facilities, as well as mental health rehabilitation centers.

The board also gave the county health department one week to come up with a plan to test all nursing home staff and workers, whether or not they have symptoms.



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