MAY 2020 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 35
SALUTE TO NURSES
GROUP HOME GAUNTLET
When the coronavirus pandemic
infected much of Long Island, group
homes for the disabled struggled with
similar issues as those challenging
equipment-strapped hospitals and atrisk
nursing homes, but with none of
Among such impacted facilities on LI
were group homes run by CP Nassau,
a Roosevelt-based nonprofit that cares
for people with cerebral palsy, including
150 residents, dozens of whom
contracted COVID-19 and at least 10 of
whom died of coronavirus, officials say.
“Gowns were probably our biggest
challenge,” says Robert McGuire, the
group’s executive director for the past
23 years, adding that masks had to be
reused. “Our gown situation was so
bad that at one point people were using
CP Nassau’s 18 residential group
homes — eight of which were
quarantined between March
and April after staffers or
residents either tested positive
for coronavirus or exhibited
symptoms — are just among
dozens of such facilities that
various organizations use to
house people with disabilities.
Such group homes in the New
York Metro area were 5.34
times more likely than the
general population to develop
coronavirus and 4.86 times
more likely to die from it,
according to a New York Disability
“In many of the cases for our
guys, they require a two-person
lift,” says McGuire. “If you
and I were lifting somebody,
we’d be on both sides of them,
and we’d all three of us be
nose to nose. And many of our
guys don’t have either a physical
ability, or the mental awareness
to cover their nose, to cover their
cough, and so therefore the exposure
For CP Nassau, the staffers had to
quarantine for weeks with group
home residents to ensure isolation.
Worst hit was the agency’s largest
group home in Bayville, where 37
of 46 residents were infected, 10
were hospitalized, and five died.
“That volume sent shockwaves
through our staff,” McGuire says.
“Everybody knew they were involved
in an environment that was
potentially a danger to them and
for those that went home, a danger
to their family, too … I’ve always
known they do saintly things, but
they were doing heroic things.”
A CP Nassau nurse cares for a group home resident. -TB
WE EARNED THE RIGHT TO SAY
WE SURVIVED THIS YEAR.
THIS HONOR WAS EARNED.
AS AN ESSENTIAL WORKER
THIS YEAR PULLED US ALL UP
BY THE BOOT STRAPS.
THIS YEAR WE HAD OUR VOICES HEARD.
OUR COMMUNITIES HAVE LIFTED US UP.
WE HAVE RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM ALL CORNERS.
THIS YEAR WE FEEL YOUR LOVE.
-ANA-NY & NACLI
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