A St. Louis Park nursing home has paid Minnesota's largest fine for violating COVID-19 safety rules after an employee got the coronavirus and died.
According to Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry documents obtained by the Star Tribune, Sholom Community Alliance paid $27,100 in fines after David Kolleh, a 61-year-old manager in the memory care unit, died on May 18, 2020.
The nursing home was cited for failing to provide an adequate respiratory program for workers, and a Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors determined the facility's failure "caused or contributed to" Kolleh's death, documents show.
"[Kolleh] was not being protected by an effective respiratory protection program when the first resident tested positive for COVID-19 and this likely caused or contributed to [Kolleh's] exposure," the documents say.
The facility's executives dispute OSHA's conclusion, saying it did everything it could to provide adequate personal protective equipment to its workers in the early days of the pandemic and no one knows for sure how Kolleh contracted the virus seeing as he also worked at another assisted living facility, the Star Tribune reports.
Kolleh, of Eagan, was a Liberian immigrant and father of 13 kids. He was among the first 5,000 people in Minnesota to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and among the first 750 people to die from the virus.
According to a FOX 9 story last year, Kolleh was described as "fiercely loyal, loving and the protector of their large family," who also cared for residents of the facilities where he worked like they were his own family.