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Bed bugs problem in Detroit Lakes assisted-living home since August

Lakes Homes and Program Development, Inc. have been dealing with bed bugs since August.
Lakes Homes and Program Development, Inc. have been dealing with bed bugs since August.(Michael Downs/KVLY)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Bed bugs have been an issue in a home that cares for adults living with disabilities and mental illness in Detroit Lakes. Lakes Homes and Program Development, Inc. has been battling them since August last year. An employee called our whistleblower hotline saying that the West Home has been dealing with the pests, providing photos of them on wheelchairs and on furniture.

A photo provided by the whistleblower.
A photo provided by the whistleblower.(KVLY)

The whistleblower said the issue began six months ago, but according to Development Director Barb TeVogt, it goes further back.

“So actually it was August when we first started treating this situation. All the residents left the house, they turned everything inside-out and upside-down as they treated. We were evacuated for eight hours and then they were allowed to come back in.” said TeVogt.

Currently, Lakes Homes and Program Development, Inc. is using an outside agency and tasking staff to combatant the bugs. While the agency fumigates, the staff are washing and spraying down the rooms. According to the University of Minnesota, they recommend that organizations should not handle bed bugs on their own and should ask for professional help.

A photo provided by the whistleblower.
A photo provided by the whistleblower.(KVLY)

“We are treating, we had a company come in and fumigate the home and there is still some stragglers but that is kind of what we’re learning is the life cycle of the bed bug.” said TeVogt.

Lakes Homes did not have to report the bed bugs because the Minnesota Department of Health does not deem them as a reportable condition. While the bugs don’t carry harmful diseases, they still can cause health problems.

“They can cause certain secondary infections from the bites and from the itching.” said MDOH Information Officer Doug Schultz. “It is a sanitary concern. You know, they shouldn’t be there, that’s true for even the hotels and motels that we regulate. Like I said, it’s a bad enough that they can lead to a secondary infections on the sores they can cause.”

TeVogt says that Lakes Homes is still in the process of fighting the bed bugs.

If you need help uncovering an issue in your community, call our whistleblower hotline and we’ll do our best to get to the bottom of it. Call 701-237-6576 and leave your tip.

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