East Providence nursing home facing staffing shortage as employees test positive for COVID-19

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva is calling upon qualified or retired healthcare workers to apply at Orchard View Manor, a nursing facility that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Orchard View has had 20 COVID-19 related deaths, 10 of which were reported Thursday.

“We are learning the hard way that we need to take different steps,” DaSilva said. “I’m hoping this is something that will never happen again.”

DaSilva said 24 staff members at the facility have tested positive for the virus, posing a significant staffing challenge.

CNA Paul Rianna recently told Eyewitness News he’s been working long hours to fill in for his colleagues who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are doing everything we can for these residents,” Rianna said.

DaSilva said the facility is now actively recruiting healthcare workers per diem to take care of its residents.

“Imagine you are going to work every day, and seeing people you’ve been working with, for months, sometimes years, are dying all around you,” DaSilva said.

“The staff is feeling the burnout, they are feeling the stress and feeling the pressure,” he added.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, an Orchard View spokesperson said the facility is doing everything in its power to ensure the residents are cared for.

“We are doing all we can to fully staff the center, and there have been no interruptions in care at this time,” the spokesperson said. “We have asked the state for staffing assistance to ensure that our patients continue to receive the care they need moving forward.”

“This virus has impacted nursing homes at a disproportionately high rate,” he added. “Sadly, Orchard View has been significantly impacted. We are devastated that patients in our care have contracted this virus. We are doing all we can to treat them and our thoughts are with those patients inflicted with this virus and their loved ones.”

DaSilva said he’s thankful for the support the nursing home has received from the community. He said residents have donated meals to staff members at the facility to thank them for their hard work.

The Rhode Island Department of Health is expected to provide an update on nursing homes during Friday’s briefing.

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