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Resources: Justice must protect nursing homes

Without swift, decisive action, some older West Virginians in nursing homes could be in peril from COVID-19 again.

By Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Resources was reporting active outbreaks of the disease at 19 nursing homes in 15 counties. At one, in Mercer County, 30 residents and staff members had been diagnosed with COVID-19 — up from 20 on Friday.

COVID-19 had killed 111 Mountain State residents by Tuesday. Most were older men and women with underlying health conditions that made them especially susceptible to the virus. Sadly, an 87-year-old Wood County woman is among the most recent group of deaths announced.

For a time, it appeared West Virginia was a shining success story in terms of holding down epidemic deaths in nursing homes. We hope and pray that is not about to change.

Gov. Jim Justice and other officials already have taken steps to confront the enemy at the Mercer County facility. That has included at least three rounds of COVID-19 testing for nursing home residents and staff.

Clearly, an all-out campaign to protect nursing home residents — and, to accomplish that, to safeguard their staffs — is vital. Justice should make available whatever resources are needed for the task.

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