HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — On the Big Island, a 10th death has been reported at a Veterans Home in Hilo. While federal aid has not come, we learned the State is stepping in.
Health Department officials tell us there were two teams at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans State Home on Sept. 9. One is the Office of Health Care Assurance, which is conducting an unannounced inspection for 2 days.
The Department of Health decided to conduct the unannounced inspection based on the rising cases and deaths at the facility. A spokeswoman tells us in a statement:
“Inspections of long term care facilities are conducted as part of the state’s regulatory process. Unannounced inspections can occur at any time when a concern is raised by the public or others.”
A physician from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is also there to help.
“To help do an assessment to try to see if there are any gaps in procedures, analyze the processes there that are going on so that we can try to stop the spread of COVID in the facility,” said Avalon Health Care Group Allison (HCGA) Griffiths. Avalon is the managing company of the Veterans Home.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim tells us he’s been requesting for a review at the Veterans Home and it is finally being done.
“What is happening at the Veterans Home was totally unacceptable as far as the number of people that would be tested in a sequence of time. Very, very unacceptable the number fatalities at the Veterans Home,” said the Mayor.
Griffiths tells us HCGA has not received federal assistance, but there may be a team from Veterans Affairs possibly coming to do an assessment.
“Any 3rd party inspection or advice or process improvements that can be passed along we would be happy to receive those, but at the same time to we know that we’re following CDC guidelines at the facility,” she said.
We’re told the state’s inspection report may be available in about a week after it’s written up.
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