An Ohio nursing home resident says a massive COVID-19 outbreak has turned its residents into “sitting ducks” who can’t afford to wait for a vaccine — prompting him to call 911 to plead they “need to be rescued.”
Bruce MacGillis, 64, said he feels “trapped” and “desperate” as he waits for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine at his nursing home in Mentor, where 30 out of around 80 residents have tested positive in the last week alone, the Washington Post reported.
“We’re at the mercy of this virus. We sit in here and we wait,” MacGillis explained to the newspaper.
MacGillis said that the infected residents live in sections of the facility separated by a plastic sheet hung across the hallway.
“That plastic sheet keeps moving closer. I’m trying not to panic, but where am I supposed to go? It’s not like I can jump up and make a run for it. I’m in a wheelchair,” MacGillis said.
He said that he fears that one of the employees or temporary staffers hired to fill staff shortages could be putting him at risk.
“A few months ago, an aide from a temp agency tried to come in to check my vitals. We didn’t have any cases at that point, and I thought some people here were starting to get a little casual about it,” MacGillis told the paper.
“Her mask was down by her chin. I’d seen her with some of the other aides talking in the break room, and they weren’t social distancing up to my standards.”
MacGillis said he’s felt increasingly “desperate” as the virus keeps spreading throughout the nursing home.
He claimed he called a county official and was told, “30 new cases is not really considered all that extreme, and everyone is trying their best.”
When he got nowhere making more calls to other health officials, he called 911 and explained what was happening to the dispatcher, who replied by asking if he was in physical pain or wanted an ambulance, the paper reported.
“No, no. It’s bigger than that. We’re sitting ducks. We all need to be rescued,” he replied, according to the Washington Post.
MacGillis said he’s pinning his hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine, but doesn’t know if it will be administered fast enough to save residents at the home.
In the meantime, he plans to pin up a linen blanket over the door to his room to isolate.
“Total isolation might be my only chance,” he told the paper. “I probably have to make it at least another month to the vaccine, and I guess that’s when we’ll become a priority.”