When people experience personal injuries or damages because of the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of an individual or business, they frequently contact Pate, Johnson & Church to advise them of their options. Often, when cases involving these situations appear in the news, the media will contact Attorney Page Pate for his opinion and analysis of the situation.
In this case, a Dekalb County, Georgia senior living apartment complex reportedly has a confirmed case of coronavirus and allegedly has not taken steps to disinfect the facility or inform the other residents, who are at an increased risk of contracting the virus because of their age.
Local news station CBS 46 contacted Page to discuss what is legally required of the management of a facility like this. Page explains that “There are federal laws like HIPAA that prevent, say, nurses or other employees of the facility from going to a different resident and saying, “Hey, you may not know it, but Ms. Smith has the coronavirus.” They really can’t do that. What they can and should do, though, is follow both the federal recommendations, which include the CDC guidelines, on how to make sure their facility is best protected from spreading the coronavirus.”
Tracye: A DeKalb County senior community could be at risk for becoming Georgia’s next coronavirus hotspot. A source close to CBS46 tells us at least one resident at Brightstone apartment homes tested positive for the virus. Adam Murphy’s investigating tonight in DeKalb County.
Adam: A source inside the Brightstone apartment homes, which is a 55 and older community here in DeKalb County, has informed me that there was a confirmed case of coronavirus and management has done nothing to inform others in the community or properly disinfect.
On DeKalb Medical Parkway in Lithonia, there are coronavirus concerns swirling inside this senior community.
Woman: And I think they’re looking at it from a business standpoint and not from a humanity standpoint.
Adam: A source from within, who did not wanna be identified, spoke exclusively to CBS46 about a lack of transparency by management.
Woman: They have not told anyone. I’m aware of this because I’ve been told personally by these people that they have the coronavirus.
Adam: It’s a serious concern, considering those living at Brightstone are still interacting with one another and, because of their age, are at a greater risk of contracting the virus.
Woman: And that’s really concerning because everything is so open, you know, people still use the theater room, the library, I saw people in the game room today.
Adam: The question at hand is whether management is legally required to inform others. We asked Atlanta attorney, Page Pate.
Page: There are federal laws like HIPAA that prevent, say, nurses or other employees of the facility from going to a different resident and saying, “Hey, you may not know it, but Ms. Smith has the coronavirus.” They really can’t do that. What they can and should do, though, is follow both the federal recommendations, which include the CDC guidelines, on how to make sure their facility is best protected from spreading the coronavirus.
Woman: It’s really scary to think that a family member or anybody over the age of 55 that’s at this place, or a guest, could be exposed to coronavirus as well as spreading it around.
Adam: I’ve tried multiple times to reach management here at the property, but their phone is disconnected. We’ve also called the corporate office in Nashville, and no one has responded. We’ll stay on top of this one. In DeKalb County, Adam Murphy, “CBS46 News.”
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.