CORONAVIRUS

Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown disciplines employees for mask violations

Flags fly at half-staff next to the World War II memorial at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday, A
Flags fly at half-staff next to the World War II memorial at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. The facility is the fifth largest with 500 beds out of the 156 similar facilities across the country. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Employees at the Iowa Veterans Home have been disciplined more than 20 times for personal protective equipment lapses that potentially exposed residents and staff to coronavirus.

Commandant Timon Oujiri said Monday the strict approach to requiring masks and other equipment when interacting with residents and colleagues has helped keep coronavirus largely out of the state’s biggest nursing home.

He says 25 employees and seven residents have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic and all have recovered. Oujiri says he considers that a major success, noting that the Marshalltown home has 456 residents and 900 employees.

Still, there have been numerous policy violations.

He confirmed that five employees have received three-day suspensions for showing a “complete disregard of PPE” that results in “repeated exposure to residents and staff.”

He says five others have received one-day suspensions for exposing residents, and nine have received written reprimands for exposing staff. Two employees were terminated during probationary periods.

Records show one of the suspended employees was seen on surveillance video interacting with residents on three occasions in April without a mask.

A state lawyer has ruled that discipline was just, noting that staff negligence infected two residents who had to be transferred to the Des Moines Veterans Affairs hospital.

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