KFF (November 25)
This week marks a bleak milestone in the pandemic’s effect on residents and staff in long-term care facilities across the country. According to our latest analysis of state-reported data, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 long-term care facility residents and staff as of the last week in November. This finding comes at a time when public health experts are predicting a surge in cases after holiday gatherings and increased time indoors due to winter weather, which will have ripple effects on hospitals and nursing homes, given the close relationship between community spread and cases in congregate care settings. As the nation braces for the fallout of the holiday, recent data on deaths in long-term care facilities highlight the ongoing disproportionate impact on this high-risk population.
Many Nursing Homes In The Midwest And Great Plains Face Coronavirus Outbreaks.
NBC News (11/24, Khimm, Strickler, Ramos, Cavazuti) reports, “The latest surge of coronavirus cases is fueling a record number of nursing home outbreaks, as the virus is spreading quickly inside long-term care facilities in the Midwest and the Great Plains while also re-emerging in facilities swamped by the first wave of the virus.” During the first week of November, “more than 1,300 nursing homes across the U.S. reported having three or more confirmed Covid-19 cases...the highest number ever reported in a single week.”
COVID-19 Surging In Minnesota Senior Homes As Facilities Run Short On Staff.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune (11/24, Serres, Howatt) reports COVID-19 “is surging back into Minnesota’s senior homes, with facilities running desperately short of the one resource they cannot go without – staff.” Statewide, “a second wave of coronavirus cases is raging through nursing homes and assisted-living facilities that escaped the first wave of outbreaks this spring, once again threatening older adults who are most at risk of dying from COVID-19.” This time around, COVID-19 “is infiltrating many facilities in rural communities where staffing shortages are more severe and residents have fewer options.”
Almost 300 Nursing Home Residents Died From COVID-19 In Wisconsin In One Month.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (11/24, Volpenhein) reports that almost “300 nursing home residents in Wisconsin died from COVID-19 in the most recent month reported to the federal government – more than 10 times the previous month.” As COVID-19 “continues to ravage the state, nursing homes in Wisconsin reported that 294 residents had died of the disease caused by the coronavirus between Oct. 12 and Nov. 8, according to data from” CMS. In the month prior, “the deaths of 28 residents were reported.”
Iowa Nursing Homes Face Unmitigated Community Spread Of COVID-19.
The AP (11/24, Pitt) reports, “Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) offered no new measures Tuesday to reduce the number of coronavirus cases, even as a federal report warned of the unmitigated community spread that continues to claim lives, especially in nursing homes.” The state “reported 143 nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks, and more than 4,500 residents of care centers are infected with the virus.” State data indicate “1,008 residents of long-term care facilities with COVID-19 have died in the past eight months.”
Ohio Medicaid Introduces Program To Reduce Loneliness Of Long-Term Care Residents.
Modern Healthcare (11/24, Christ, Subscription Publication) reports, “The Ohio Department of Medicaid is introducing a ‘friendly caller’ program to reduce loneliness among residents in long-term care facilities.” During “the holidays, Ohio Medicaid, Ohio’s five Medicaid managed care organizations and the state’s Area Agencies on Aging will work together to pair residents with volunteers for 30-minute informal calls twice a week.” Nationally, “positive cases for nursing home residents rose 21% from the first week of November to the second, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.”