Coronavirus continues to plague understaffed nursing home in Brussels
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    Coronavirus continues to plague understaffed nursing home in Brussels

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    Regional authorities are considering appointing a crisis manager to a private Brussels nursing home ravaged by the new coronavirus.

    The Résidence Archambeau nursing home in Jette has already registered 20 deaths linked to the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to Bruzz.

    “Not all of [the deaths] can be linked to the coronavirus,” Pascal Devos, spokesman for Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron said, adding that “severe diarrhoea” had also plagued residents.”

    Suspected Covid-19 deaths from nursing homes are added into Belgium’s official death toll in an effort by health officials to avoid a lack of comprehensive testing to lead to an underestimation of the pandemic’s death toll in the country.

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    30 out of 38 staff members are currently out sick, with the army called for reinforcement when the home was grappling with the pandemic as it reported its seventh Covid-19 death at the beginning of April.

    Regional health authorities in Brussels are now looking to appoint a crisis manager and are waiting to hear back from the home’s management.

    “The army should fall back little by little,” Devos told Bruzz, adding that it was “very difficult” to communicate with the management. “But, at the moment, they are still there because the situation is not changing.”

    “In addition, the hygiene measures are not respected and the majority of the staff still report sick,” he added.

    Jette Mayor Hervé Doyen said that his office cannot take action without the intervention of the Common Community Commission (COCOM), an administrative body in Brussels responsible for matters involving both the Francophone and the Flemish communities.

    “As long as the [COCOM] does not report to me that there are serious public health problems there, I cannot do anything,” Doyen said. “I don’t have access to the medical reports from the COCOM.”

    In addition to the administrative red tape created, Doyen said that the fact that the nursing home is private also meant that local authorities had little room to manoeuvre, pointing out the “poor management” of the residence.

    “That so many staff members are still not showing up to work in the nursing home in question testifies to very poor management of the centre,” Doyen said.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times