Daviess County COVID-19

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County issues abatement to stop move of nursing home patients both in and out

A second abatement order from Daviess County Health Officer Dr. Merle Holsopple has stopped the move of residents from Washington Nursing Center to other facilities owned by Chosen Healthcare and will keep COVID-19 positive patients from being brought into the county at least for now.

The second document states that, "After the initial order, certain impacted nursing home, assisted living or similar facilities requested more information, and for this purpose, the earlier order is being modified to remove the exemption for Daviess Community Hospital."

The abatement in full can be read online at www.washtimesherald.com.

On Saturday, moving trucks showed up at the nursing facility located on Business 50. Not long after the trucks moved in, the community caught word that residents, some who have called Washington Nursing Center home for years, would be moved to make way for COVID-19 positive residents from Chosen's facilities around the state.

The Fishers-based group owns Willow Manor in Vincennes and just last year closed facilities in Terre Haute, Rockville and Linton. Chosen's plan was to start moving patients from the Washington facility to its properties in Fowler, Hanover and Vincennes on Monday. Monday morning, the buses were loaded and

In a letter released Sunday from Chosen Healthcare that was intended for families or guardians of residents, Eric Alhbrand, regional director of operations, said no residents at the 140-bed Washington facility or members of its staff had tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, but residents would still be moved to make way for Chosen's residents from around the state who were positive for the virus.

"On April 6, we will relocate residents from Washington Nursing Center to other Chosen facilities in our network as we designate Washington Nursing Center as a COVID-care facility," Alhbrand said in the letter. "This move, while inconvenient, is being made with the safety of residents as a top priority, enabling us to drastically and meaningfully reduce risk of exposure to all, by caring for anyone who may test positive in a single isolated location."

The order is pursuant to Indiana Code 16-20-1-25 that addresses health nuisances. That code states, "A person shall not institute, permit, or maintain any conditions that may transmit, generate, or promote disease. A health officer, upon hearing of the existence of such unlawful conditions within the officer's jurisdiction, shall order the abatement of those conditions. The order must: be in writing if demanded; specify the conditions that may transmit disease; and name the shortest reasonable time for abatement. If a person refuses or neglects to obey an order issued under this section, the attorney representing the county of the health jurisdiction where the offense occurs shall, upon receiving the information from the health officer, institute proceedings in the courts for enforcement. An order may be enforced by injunction. If the action concerning public health is a criminal offense, a law enforcement authority with jurisdiction over the place where the offense occurred shall be notified."

The abatement also states that, "All nursing homes, assisted living or similar facilities that have received COVID-19 positive patients, wards or individuals from any other facility outside of Daviess County, Indiana, shall have those patients, ward or individuals immediately removed and without delay."

Several families found out about the changes coming to the nursing facility on social media. Patty Kelsey had just moved her loved one to the facility last week.

"She was just moved on Thursday," said Kelsey. "That's what is so upsetting to us. No way do I believe they didn't already know their plans at that point."