To the editor:
Way back on March 7, my letter to the editor said the governor of Minnesota should issue an emergency order to put "every nursing home in the state into preventative self-quarantine."
The measures I urged on March 7, which were that staff should mask up and no visitors be allowed inside, are things that happened eventually at most Minnesota nursing homes, but not until much later. And as I write these words, 748 Minnesota citizens have died, the vast majority in nursing homes.
The specific steps I urged on March 7, if these had been implemented on March 8, undoubtedly would have prevented deaths.
Now let me try again.
Here is what needs to happen to avoid tens of thousands more nursing home deaths in Minnesota alone.
The staff who work at nursing homes should not come and go between their own homes and their nursing facilities, tracking in COVID-19. These staff need to stay right at their nursing facilities, maybe sleeping in motorhomes in the parking lots.
Frequently taking the temperature of nursing home staff is not enough if staff are going to their homes each night. COVID-19 spreads while the infected carrier has no symptoms.
Clearly, 748 deaths teach us the virus is getting inside Minnesota nursing homes despite the current steps and the hard work and sacrifices of front line heroes who work in those facilities These heroes don't have adequate gear. Nursing home workers should be provided with respirators that cover the eyes with a face shield.
Furthermore, I would urge all citizens to wear something much more serious than a flimsy piece of cloth over their face when performing necessary tasks like grocery shopping. We should all be wearing respirators that cover the entire face, including the mucus membranes of the eyes.
(Jefferson High School Class of 1985)
Midwest City, OK