Women quit jobs at adult care center claiming facility mishandled pandemic response

WEST NEWTON, Pa. — Four women who quit their jobs at TLC adult care center in West Newton told Channel 11 the facility mishandled the response to the pandemic, foregoing the health and safety of employees and residents.

“It’s not being handled properly at all and that’s our main concern. We care about those people like family,” Emma Walker said.

Walker said she tested positive right after Thanksgiving and claimed she was still encouraged to come to work while showing symptoms.

“I couldn’t live with myself if I just sat by and did nothing. When I found out the situation going on there, how it wasn’t being taken seriously and it was being denied and ignored, I knew immediately I had to do something because those are my family members,” Chelsea Fabbri said.

All four of the former employees said they quit in just the last few weeks. They said proper PPE equipment wasn’t being provided.

The owner of TLC, Rob Short, said over the phone that the facility always had the resources required by the CDC, but he couldn’t disclose how many positive cases or deaths occurred there. On the state’s website, it does not list any data for TLC but the state said there have been issues with reporting data on the web portal for weeks.

Short said TLC does adhere to the universal mandate to test staff and residents for COVID-19, but the former employees said they were only tested twice in November and once in October.

“I left because I didn’t want to take it home to my 5 and 8-year-old kids. I felt bad because I didn’t want to spread it to anybody,” Ashley Stout said.

Short told Channel 11 the facility had a policy that if a worker was asymptomatic, they could still come to work and work with patients who tested positive. The Department of Human Services, Excela Health and Short all confirmed a team with the regional response health collaborative program came into the home to help with testing, resources and infection control.

The four women said they’re just hoping that by speaking up, they can better the health and well-being of employees and residents still there.