‘It’s not safe there’ -- COVID-19 outbreak reported at Downriver nursing home

COVID-19 outbreak reported at Rivergate Terrace

Rivergate Terrace Nursing Home in Riverview is a massive rehabilitation home that has become a COVID-19 hot spot.
Rivergate Terrace Nursing Home in Riverview is a massive rehabilitation home that has become a COVID-19 hot spot.

RIVERVIEW, Mich. – Rivergate Terrace Nursing Home in Riverview is a massive rehabilitation home that has become a COVID-19 hot spot.

Officials with the nursing home confirmed seven residents died from coronavirus, but management is accused of downplaying the true number is expected to be much higher.

RELATED: Riverview nursing home management accused of downplaying coronavirus outbreak that killed 7

A former employee spoke with Local 4 after walking out Friday.

She said she quit over COVID-19 and it would be too dangerous to stay.

“No. It's not safe there,” she said. “Who know? I probably already have it.”

She said she can't take the grief and that the residents she cared for and loved are dying.

“It's horrible,” she said. “I just see what's going on and how they decline. Just to see the residents every day, leaving one by one, going to the hospital, some of them are dying in there."

Of the staff and residents, 36 have tested positive for coronavirus.

Insiders claim 20 to 30 residents have died and that elderly residents with major health issues aren't being officially counted as COVID-19 deaths because they weren't tested. They reportedly got sick and died before they could get tested.

The former employee and other staff members said they fear the situation is getting worse.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the nursing home is under investigation.

Nursing home statement

Here is a statement from Sujata Chaddha, interim executive director at Riverview Terrace:

"Twenty-one Rivergate Terrace residents have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 9, along with 15 associates.

"HIPAA privacy guidelines prevent the sharing of personal patient information, but we are able to share the following details:

  • 22 Rivergate Terrace residents were tested for COVID-19 after being transferred to local hospitals. 21 of those tests came back positive. One came back negative.
  • We received notification of the first positive test on March 25.
  • As we received notification of each positive test, any resident who was known to have contact with the resident who tested positive was immediately isolated.
  • Three of the 21 residents who tested positive have returned to our facility and are under the isolated care of our facility associates. We are following the guidance of our medical director and local hospitals and will continue to care for these residents in-house unless a resident’s condition progresses to a level of care that requires a transfer back to the hospital.
  • Seven of the residents who remained at the hospital after testing positive have passed away. The other residents are continuing their recovery in the hospital.
  • One resident test is pending.
  • 17 associates have been tested for COVID-19. 15 of those tests came back positive; the other two tests were negative. The associates who tested positive are recovering at home and will not return to work until they have met specific guidelines from the state health department and CDC about returning to work after COVID-19.

"We have been and will continue to follow all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19. Our associates are being diligent on practicing proper hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment, which is recurring education they normally receive, beginning with their orientation at our facility. Every associate is also screened when they arrive for work and when they leave, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into our building. Anyone with a fever over 100 is sent home and asked to contact their personal physician.

"These guidelines also place restrictions on the entrance of visitors, family members and vendors. Signage with information on COVID-19 and details about these restrictions is posted on our doors. Our entrance is also equipped with an infection prevention station that includes personal protection supplies.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and loved ones of the patients who have passed away. The safety and well-being of our residents will remain our highest priority as we continue to work in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Wayne County Health Department and follow the guidance they provide.”

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.