COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission Raises Question of Ventilation in Maryland Nursing Homes

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently revised its COVID-19 guidelines to state that the coronavirus can be spread through aerosols, raising questions about the practices of Maryland nursing homes. It was previously known that the virus could be spread through respiratory droplets, such as when an infected person coughs, talks, and breathes. But experts now say that the virus is also spread through aerosols, which can remain in the air for hours and travel more than six feet. Experts still believe that the virus is mainly spread through respiratory droplets, but believe that airborne transmission does occur. Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that he was pretty confident that there was some airborne transmission of COVID-19.

Aerosols are microscopic droplets or particles and remain suspended in the air for some time, as opposed to respiratory droplets, which drop to the ground. Aerosols can accumulate in a confined space like a poorly ventilated room. Air purifiers and open windows can help to mitigate aerosol transmission by increasing ventilation within a confined space.

Some researchers have raised this issue in regards to nursing homes. Some research reported on one case of a COVID-19 outbreak in a nursing home with inadequate ventilation. One ward in a nursing home had a rate of 81% positive COVID-19 cases among residents, as opposed to no cases among the other six wards in the nursing home. Based on the low rate of the virus in the community, fast rate of transmission within the ward, the documented poor ventilation, and despite the use of surgical masks, the data suggested that the outbreak was caused by aerosol transmission due to inadequate ventilation.

What the research shows is that failure to ensure adequate ventilation may put nursing home residents at risk. Maryland nursing homes may be liable for injuries caused by their failure to adequately prevent the spread of the virus in the nursing homes. In a Maryland nursing home negligence claim, a plaintiff must generally prove that the home failed to meet its duty to care for a resident by failing to keep residents safe under the circumstances, such as failing to isolate infected patients or failing to properly ventilate the facility. To date, there have been over 15,000 COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, group homes, and assisted living facilities in Maryland and more than 2,000 deaths in the state.

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer for Immediate Assistance with Your Concerns

If your loved one has been infected with COVID-19 at a Maryland nursing home, Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, is here to help. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our injury attorneys have over 20 years of experience representing the rights of Baltimore residents and others throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We have helped countless accident victims and their families bring claims to pursue the compensation that they need and deserve following nursing home abuse or neglect. To set up a free consultation regarding a personal injury or wrongful death claim, call us at (410) 654-3600 or toll-free at (800) 654-1949. You can also contact us through our online form.

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