Nursing Homes Remain “Deadly Environments” Amid Pandemic, Data Indicate.
ABC News (8/10, Romero, Freger, Pecorin, Kim) reports that “even as death rates from the novel coronavirus have declined overall, nursing homes in the U.S. have persisted as one of the deadliest environments in the pandemic, according to a new ABC News analysis.” Since March, facilities that provide long-term care “have been ravaged by the coronavirus and have accounted for roughly 40% of virus-related deaths, data” indicate. The outlet “conducted an analysis of state-by-state reporting of positive cases and deaths in America’s nursing homes. And more than six months into the effort to fight the outbreak, those numbers show the virus continues to find pathways into nursing homes, accounting for at least 63,000 of the nation’s more than 162,000 total coronavirus deaths.” The piece adds that LeadingAge “recently sent a letter to Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at” HHS, “which pointed out that while antigen testing is useful for rapid results, the tests have a 20% false-negative result.”
Hospital Managers In Louisiana Worried About Second Surge Of Coronavirus Outbreaks In Nursing Homes.
The Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate (8/9, Rddad) reports that “as cases of the new coronavirus have risen in recent weeks across Louisiana, hospitals and public health officials have nervously watched to see whether the rising number of cases in so many communities would impact the state’s nursing homes.” Numerous hospitals in the state, “including the largest facility in Louisiana, are strained again by an influx of patients diagnosed since the state relaxed a stay-at-home order and started allowing businesses to reopen.” As such, “hospital managers fear a large outbreak at a nursing home could abruptly overwhelm healthcare systems, especially in hotspot cities.”
The AP (8/7, Deslatte) provided similar coverage of coronavirus rates rising in nursing homes in the state.
Residents At Pennsylvania Nursing Home With Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak Have Only Noticed “Minor Changes.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (8/9, Martines, Lindstrom) reports, “There has been talk of change, [and] talk of state and federal probes into how” Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, “became the epicenter of one of the nation’s deadliest covid-19 outbreaks.” However, Kenneth Miller, “a former charcoal artist from Pittsburgh’s Hill District and a Brighton resident since 2019, has noticed only minor changes such as more staff wearing masks and cleaner shared bathrooms.” The center “has ‘below-average’ marks for staffing and a ‘far-below-average’ rating for issues related to inspections, federal records show.” Over 70 “patients and a housekeeper died and more than 300 others were infected with the coronavirus.” HHS “Secretary Alex Azar questioned whether the state did enough to quash the spread of the virus at Brighton.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (8/9, Martines, Lindstrom) reports in a separate piece that “205 of 435 Brighton patients...according to state inspection records, were administered” hydroxychloroquine “as of April 29 without needed approval from the state health department.” Some “residents and their family members said they felt pressured to say yes to the treatment, despite concerns about its possible side effects.” Consent forms “indicated they were receiving hydroxychloroquine as part of medical research intended to determine whether the treatment, when taken with zinc, would prevent covid-19, inspection records show.” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said, “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”
In a third piece, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (8/9, Martines, Lindstrom) reports that “as death became a constant at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in mid-April, so did certain daily rituals, according to some of the more than dozen residents, families and current and former staff members interviewed during a Trib investigation.” Family members’ “pleas for updates about loved ones locked down inside Beaver County’s largest nursing home went unanswered for days. Bone-tired, frightened nurses took to Facebook to plead for masks. Nursing assistants were charged with the grim task of tagging body bags, a former staffer said.”
Outbreaks In Long-Term Care Facilities Tied To Almost Half Of Coronavirus Fatalities In Southwest Missouri.
The Springfield (MO) News-Leader (8/9, Kull) reports, “Outbreaks at nursing homes, assisted living centers and long-term care facilities are responsible for nearly half of coronavirus deaths in southwest Missouri.” As of Friday, no less than “33 of the 74 deaths in nine counties and Joplin were the result of such outbreaks.” Recently, “as coronavirus infections have continued to spike in southwest Missouri, the impact has become clear for people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.”
Wall Street Journal (8/8, Jon Kamp, Christopher Weaver and Anna Wilde Mathews)
The Wall Street Journal reports an analysis of federal data from the week that ended July 26 reveals 1,046 deaths in US nursing homes, which was a 14% increase over the previous week and a 24% jump over the first week of the month.
More Coverage. When Covid-19 Hit, Many Elderly Were Left To Die (New York Times, 8/8, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Matt Apuzzo, Monika Pronczuk And Mauricio Lima)
Star Tribune (August 8)
Since early July, the weekly number of new infections among long-term care residents has nearly tripled, with 172 new cases last week.
HHS Says Nursing Homes Will Receive An Additional $5B In COVID-19 Relief Funding.
Bloomberg Law (8/7, Pugh, Subscription Publication) reported that nursing homes in the US will receive “another $5 billion in federal pandemic relief funding, the Trump administration announced Friday.” Some of that funding “will go only to facilities that meet certain performance-based measures, unlike previous distributions from the Congress-approved provider relief fund. Facilities will be evaluated based on the local Covid-19 infection rate and the nursing home’s ability to minimize infections and fatalities among residents.” Commenting on the matter, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, “By linking these funds to performance in controlling COVID-19, we are providing powerful tools and incentives for nursing homes to better protect their residents from the virus.”
The Detroit News (August 6)
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says her office will be "ramping up efforts" to enforce requirements aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19 inside long-term care facilities, including nursing homes.
San Francisco Chronicle (August 6)
‘A harrowing black home of information’: Some nursing homes leave families in the dark about coronavirus
Marla Harvey looked closely at her computer screen. Her grandmother, Annie Ballard, looked semi-conscious in her bed at San Miguel Villa, a nursing home in Concord. “Is she sick? Does she have COVID?” Harvey frantically asked the aide who was facilitating the Zoom call between her and her grandmother in late May.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (August 5)
NJ.com (August 3)
Rose Dente contracted COVID-19 at the nursing home where she spent the last four years of her life and died in late March — at a time, say her lawyers, when aides and other staff members at the Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park were told not to use masks and gloves because it “might scare residents.”