Local nursing home workers demand PPE, hazard pay from state


GATES, NY (WROC) — Frontline nursing home workers at 36 long-term care facilities across the state held silent and “solemn vigils” Thursday. They say it is to express grief and concern when it comes to the response in those facilities to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Workers at Creekview nursing home came together and said they’re on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, and their basic needs in-house are not being met by Albany.

They say they are short staffed, and lack appropriate Personal Protective Equipment. They also say there is a refusal acknowledge the risks and sacrifices that are being made during the COVID-19 crisis, like not providing crisis pay. Something that in Monroe County at least, is only reserved for county employees.

Deja Alexander works at Creekside and says she is on edge going home to her 70-year old grandfather, asthmatic cousin, and her three year old. The possibility for spreading coronavirus to them is why she says workers need adequate PPE now.

“It’s not just you it’s your family. And nobody wants to be the reason why your family member is in the hospital with coronavirus because you can’t do a job you need to survive. And then you’re not adding hazardous pay?” says Alexander.

“We don’t know what Corona entails, we don’t know how you are getting it or how it’s being spread so, just for our safety for everyone I feel all across the board, whether it’s here, hospitals, wherever. Every floor should have it. That way we’re not continuously spreading it,” she adds.

CNA Eirizarrah Vaughn says all healthcare staff right now is important, and their needs must be accommodated to do their jobs safely and not spread the virus around.

“We are running out. So we need more. Gloves, masks, shields, gowns, face shields,” says Vaugn. “I hope I get recognized and I hope I get hazard pay for taking care of the sick,” she says.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he followed the CDC’s advice on how to handle nursing homes. Cuomo said they have to take some responsibility. If they can’t care for patients, homes have to let the state know.

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