WASHINGTON (AP) – Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to erect a protective shield around nursing homes, coronavirus infections are on the rise in facilities in states severely affected by the raid. COVID-19.
An analysis of federal data from 20 states for the Associated Press found that weekly new cases in residents rose almost fourfold from the end of May to the end of October, from 1,083 to 4,274. According to research by health researchers Rebecca Gorges and Tamara Konetzka, the number of permanent deaths more than doubled, from 318 a week to 699.
Similarly, weekly cases among nursing home workers in states more than quadrupled, from 855 in the week ending May 31, to 4,050 by the week ending October 25. That raises alarms because infected staff have not yet shown symptoms which are considered the most likely way the virus enters the premises. When those unintentional employees have a positive result, they don’t care about residents, putting pressure on the rest of the staff.
The government has allocated $ 5 billion to nursing homes, shipped nearly 14,000 rapid check-ups with the goal of supplying every facility and trying to stock up on protective equipment. But the data raises questions about the White House’s broader game plan, one that pushes states to reopen while maintaining that vulnerable people can get cocoons, even if Viruses broke out around them.
“Trying to protect people in nursing homes without controlling the spread in the community is a loss,” said Konetzka, a nationally recognized expert in long-term care. “Someone has to care for vulnerable residents in nursing homes, and those caregivers move in and out of a nursing home every day, creating an easy pathway for the virus to enter.”
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities make up about 1% of the US population, but 40% of COVID-19 deaths, according to the COVID Monitoring Project.
At Fort Dodge, a manufacturing and shipping center in central north Iowa, Julie Thorson said she knew she had been going through a bad week when some staff at Friendship Haven nursing home tested positive on Friday. Two weeks ago. As president of the senior community, Thorson contacted the county health department. “They’re basically not surprised because they’re seeing it all over the county,” she said.
Residents also started testing positive. The facility had 11 new cases among residents, as of Friday.
“I was thinking all night what was worse, letting it happen and not knowing what you’re involved in, or preparing, preparing and preparing, and then it happened,” she said.
In response to the research results, the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a statement saying that “the bottom line is that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on nursing homes is complex and multifaceted. factor ”.
The agency noted various ways the government has been working to help nursing homes and said its focus now is on ensuring that residents and staff will “immediately” have access to vaccine after approval. But it also added that facilities “have a primary responsibility for keeping their residents safe.”
“Many likely causes of nursing home outbreaks are simply nursing homes that are not following basic infection control rules,” the statement said.
But Konetzka said her research showed that nursing home quality did not have a significant effect on morbidity and mortality after the spread of the community was listed. Other academic experts have reached similar conclusions.
Highly rated by Medicare, St. Aging Services Paul in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, had 72 cases of COVID-19 among residents and 74 cases among employees, according to its Facebook page. The first case among the residents was August 19, and 15 people died, the facility’s president, Sondra Norder said.
“The results here really aren’t that different from those in New York earlier in the pandemic,” Norder said. “It’s called the perfect killing machine for the elderly, especially those who live in a crowded environment.” Kaukauna is a small city about 100 miles north of Milwaukee.
The study, based on data reported by nursing homes to the government, also raised other concerns:
– During the week ending October 25, about 1 out of 6 nursing homes in the states did not report a spike in check-ins last week. Government requests call for staff to check at least weekly in areas where the virus is spreading.
During the same period, nearly a fifth of nursing homes reported a lack of basic protective gear such as masks and gowns.
– Nearly 1 in 4 facilities reported a shortage of nursing staff.
Most of the states in the study are in the middle and northern strata of the country.
Commons, an upscale community in Enid, Oklahoma, that includes a nursing home, is located in a hotspot for coronavirus. Oil and gas center has a positive rate of 18%. Steven Walkingstick, CEO of The Commons, said a local masker was shot down twice.
Walkingstick says: “In my opinion, it is very sad that mandate is required. “I don’t want the government to get involved, but the evidence suggests we won’t do this voluntarily.”
Walkingstick said he believes the United States has made progress in saving the lives of COVID-19 patients, but has failed to stop the virus from leaving nursing homes.
Thorson, the head of the Fort Dodge facility, said it took a lot of effort to try to stop the virus and was dismayed to see it break in.
“Don’t forget us, because we’re still here, doing the best we can in the countryside,” she said.
The 20 states analyzed in the study were Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia. , and Wyoming. They were chosen because they are currently seeing their highest hospitalization rates for COVID-19.