As COVID-19 cases rise, family members say Hale Nani not doing enough to protect residents

Coronavirus

Three more residents at Hale Nani Nursing Facility tested positive for COVID-19. There are now five total cases there, one is a nurse.

Family members are frustrated and angry, and say the facility isn’t doing enough to protect residents.

KHON2 spoke with a resident’s sister who said her roommate refused to take the Covid test after a worker tested positive. She says for days the sister and the roommate, who had a fever, stayed in the same room. The roommate eventually tested positive, and even then they were kept in the same room for two more days.

Sandy Birdsong is doing all she can to calm her sister down. Sixty-one-year-old Sharon Martin has been at Hale Nani for two weeks.

“She’s a bit freaked out as you might imagine, but she’s trying to remain calm because she knows that’s best for her and she’s trying to advocate for herself,” said Birdsong.

She’s still trying to get answers as to why her sister was left in the same room as another resident who she says tested positive two days earlier.

“I feel like they’ve done nothing to protect my sister. My sister has a lot of underlying health issues, diabetes, and other things that will make her very susceptible if she were to get the disease,” said Birdsong.

A spokeswoman for the company that owns Hale Nani says they cannot force a resident to take the test. She gave a statement saying, “While we cannot comment on any specific residents due to privacy protections, all room changes… and healthcare decisions are made in consultation with our physicians and in compliance with CDC guidelines.”

The health department says a resident who refuses to take a test should be isolated, and the same goes for anyone who tests positive.

“If we find that they have symptoms that may be compatible, we will isolate them and treat them as a case regardless of whether they have been tested or not,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, director of the Hawaii Department of Health.

Anderson says more preventive measures are now in place. Residents are screened for symptoms every four hours, non-essential treatments and group activities are on hold. He says investigators will look into Birdsong’s complaint.

“That is unacceptable and we will follow up and investigate how individuals were managed,” said Anderson.

Birdsong says her sister’s first test came back negative and they’re waiting for the results of the second test.

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