Eshoo concerned about nursing home patients and workers during coronavirus outbreak

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto

Daily Post Staff Writer

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said during a telephone town hall meeting with constituents Friday (April 3) that due to the coronavirus outbreak, governors are vying for medical supplies against one another and nursing homes might need to be evacuated.

Eshoo said the COVID-19 news is “grim” as national deaths top 7,000. So far 38 people have died in Santa Clara County. She said a lack of medical supplies including masks for nurses and doctors is a problem in every state.

Stanford immunologist Dr. David Relman, who was Eshoo’s guest during the town hall, said the Bay Area had foresight by instituting a stay at home order before the rest of the country and state. He said it takes a few weeks for the results of any COVID-19 action to become clear. The Bay Area might see fewer deaths than originally projected over the next week because of the stay at home order.

A resident named Mark called in to ask Eshoo and Relman whether evacuating nursing homes might be a good idea.

Elderly people seem to be more vulnerable to COVID-19. There have been high death tolls when COVID-19 has spread in nursing homes. Over two dozen residents of a Seattle nursing home died of COVID-19.

Eshoo said she has heard complaints from nursing home workers about a lack of standards and supplies. She said she is also concerned that nursing homes don’t have the ability to routinely test all their residents. She said she has asked state leaders about nursing home safeguards but hasn’t gotten an answer to her satisfaction.

Relman said nursing homes need to have plans in place to rapidly separate and remove patients if anyone contracts the virus.

Jason from Los Altos asked whether the country has adequate cybersecurity now that more work is being conducted remotely.

Eshoo said a lot of money has already been put into cybersecurity. She said she is concerned that many people don’t have access to good quality internet for work and school. She said Congress is working on expanding broadband.

Eshoo held the call from a makeshift office at her kitchen counter. She said her team is working from home like most people in the country.