SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Aaron Harlan made it out of a Turlock facility that is still dealing with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in our area.
“I thought I was on a death sentence the longer I stayed in there,” he told CBS13.
He says he saw firsthand how critical testing is, and that it took five people to test positive for the virus before everyone inside was tested.
The nation’s largest union representing nursing home workers says there needs to be more testing.
“There must be a standardized regimen of testing put in place,” said April Verrett, President of Service Employees International Union.
The union says just last inspection, nearly 70% of California nursing homes did not have an infection and prevention control program.
Experts say action needs to be taken now as the number of deaths at facilities continue to rise.
“It should be mandatory. They should all have testing on a regular basis,” said Dr. Charlene Harrington, a nursing professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Harrington has been studying nursing homes for more than 30 years.
“There’s no guidance that requires all nursing homes to test,” she said.
She says there are only recommendations for testing, unlike the changes being made in New York where Governor Cuomo is strictly ramping up testing.
“All nursing home staff must now be tested twice a week,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The union is demanding immediate protocols that include fully-funded testing for all residents and staff.
Aaron believes the crisis in these facilities is getting worse and hopes changes start coming fast.
“If I had my choice, I’ll never go into a nursing home again, ever,” he said.