Two residents at the MPTF’s skilled nursing facility in Woodland Hills have died of complications from COVID-19, and four staffers have tested positive for the virus.
The MPTF reported the first case of coronavirus on March 31, and six more on April 3. “We lost a resident yesterday and a second one today,” said Bob Beitcher, president and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
Both residents were male and both had compromised immune systems. The first died at West Hills Hospital and the second in the MPTF’s COVID-19 isolation wing. Beitcher declined to identify either man, other than to say that one was 81 years old and that the other was in his mid-60s and had been living with multiple sclerosis for the past 25 years.
“We’re all saddened,” Beitcher told Deadline. “They were both fighters, but they lost this last round. They were both in our long-term care unit for many years, and they’re grieved not only by their families, but by their caregivers who knew them so well and took care of them all this time. We think of them as members of our families. I’ve known them both for quite a while. But as I’ve said before, in a bad flu season we can lose several residents as well, so we are not unaccustomed to losing our residents.”
Beitcher said that there are six other patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are receiving care in the facilities’ isolation unit. The four infected staffers are self-isolating at home.
Beitcher said that the two biggest challenges right now are a shortage of personal protection equipment such as gowns, masks and booties, and finding enough qualified staffers.
“We have incredible nurses who have stepped up and are manning the isolation unit, but some caregivers are calling in sick. They’re frightened, and we’re struggling with a shortage of personal protection equipment. Even major hospital chains are struggling to get deliveries.”
He added: “It’s a challenge. I’ve had restless nights wondering when we were going to get our first case, and then we got it. And now this. It’s an emotional challenge, but I’m here to lead the team and be focused and positive. I’m surrounded by a team that is strong and resilient and incredibly supportive in every way. I consider this campus as being owned by the industry, and they should be proud that they have these people helping out.”
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