Lawsuit: Mental hospital's poor hygiene led to COVID-19 outbreak
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A lawsuit by two patients seeking release from a Louisiana mental hospital where nine people have died with the new coronavirus says the facility isn’t maintaining hygiene or isolating patients infected with the virus.
The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that the two claim the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to release them from the facility in East Feliciana Parish.
The patients claim janitorial visits have become so rare that maggots grow in drains.
The Louisiana Department of Health said 183 patients out of the hospital’s 700 have contracted the virus, with 96 recovered or near recovery, the newspaper reported. Nine have died.
The state hadn’t filed a response to the suit in court as of Thursday afternoon. However, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported that the state said all positive patients have been isolated. Fifty-five staffers have contracted the disease, 41 have recovered, the state said.
Storm Erie and Glenn Stelly II filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge. They claim that the hospital has essentially given up trying to isolate infected patients.
Their attorney, Andrew Bizer, said in a filing that the Department of Health’s own evaluation in a budget request said the hospital facilities are “deplorable, antiquated and quickly deteriorating.”
Erie and Stelly seek financial damages and release to a setting where they could receive outpatient services.