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Rivera Clove Lakes Nursing Home – 40 dead

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On a recent morning in Staten Island, the quiet at Clove Lakes Health Care
& Rehabilitation Center was unsettling. Employees in sanitary gowns and face
masks moved through a brightly decorated front area devoid of residents or chatter.

Six months ago, the nursing home was one of the deadliest places in the city,
with 40 RESIDENTS DYING IN THE COURSE OF A MONTH. Now the workers who cared
for them, sometimes holding their hands as they died, face a second crisis:

The home recently laid off more than 40 employees, and others fear they
will be next.

“It’s not good,” said Jeanna Engelman, a speech pathologist at the home,
speaking with an openness that has been rare among nursing home workers.
In the worst times, the intensity of the work built camaraderie among
the staff, fueled by fear and the risks they shared. But now, she said,
all they can do is worry. “Every time we get paged, we wonder why.”

Theirs are the untold stories of the pandemic: the nursing home workers
who reported daily to the viral hot zones, often in facilities without
proper protective equipment,
and who now face a fiscal crisis beyond
their control. Most never spoke publicly about their experiences because
the homes did not let them.

The crisis is not unique to Clove Lakes.
In an August survey of nursing homes nationwide, more than half said
they were operating at a loss,

and nearly three-quarters said they could not last another year if
things did not change.

“It’s horrible,” said the administrator at Clove Lakes, WHERE REVENUES
. even with the
infection rate now close to zero, because patients are afraid to go there.

“People are being told by the doctors at the hospital, ‘Don’t take your
mother to a nursing home.’
“And you have certain family members who just won’t pay.
They’ll say, ‘I have to keep my mother’s Social Security check this month
because I lost my job.’”

For the employees, the story of the pandemic begins with the most basic
question: How do you go to work when you know that the next shift might
be the one that kills you or your loved ones?