TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Members of the National Guard this week have been deployed to assist some of the most severely affected nursing homes in Tippecanoe County.
A resident of one of those long-term care facilities, University Place, died this week from COVID-19, the second death at the site from the virus in the past two weeks.
The National Guard also arrived at Creasy Springs, Rosewalk Village and Signature Healthcare. All of these were outbreaks, according to Indiana̵7;s COVID-19 dashboard.
The number of cases at University Place increased last week to 14 cases in residents and 11 cases in staff.
Rosewalk Village reported 55 cases and 5 deaths among its residents. Signature Healthcare reported 13 cases among residents, while Creasy Springs reported seven other cases among residents.
But Indiana’s COVID-19 console lags behind in real-time cases. For example, the dashboard on Thursday shows University Place has fewer than five cases.
“I’m not sure if that explains the discrepancy or whether there are delays in reporting to the state’s people putting these on the dashboard,” said Dr. Jeremy Adler, Officer. County Health Tippecanoe said.
About 1,300 National Guard members were deployed this week to 133 of the most heavily affected facilities across Indiana. In Tippecanoe County, three members at each facility will provide support at least until the end of the year.
Nearly 2,500 residents of long-term care facilities statewide have died, including 120 new deaths since October 12 and a total of seven in Tippecanoe County.
Adler calls nursing homes the perfect storm when it comes to the spread of viruses.
“You have a large number of frail old people, most of whom have chronic illnesses that put them at higher risk,” he said. “They are living together in one location.”
University Place CEO Dave Kinder said he hopes the National Guard members will have clinical skills.
“They can’t manage the tests, but they’re helping some of the paper’s work in that direction,” he said. “We visited our life support and memory aid in the building, at the same time they assisted in bringing family members to meetings and cleaning post-meeting areas, and bring them back, and a number of other clerical positions. “
Kinder said the University Place outbreak started after a resident contracted the virus at a local hospital.
Spokespersons for IU Health Arnett and Franciscan Health Lafayette released a joint statement outlining the hospital’s steps to reduce the spread, including mandatory masking and social avoidance.
“IU Health and Franciscan Health have a lot of experience in treating infectious diseases,” they said. “We have been working closely with the Indiana Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure all proper procedures are in place to protect everyone under our care. “
Adler said outbreaks at local facilities could also be caused by staff or visitors asymptomatic.
“We also wonder about asymptomatic people going into nursing homes and putting the virus in,” he said.
Kinder said the outbreak was limited to University Place’s medical center, which is not accepting visitors. The establishment has had no new cases as of October 29.
“There was no transfer of staff from the medical center to other parts of the building, and so we believe we were able to control it that way,” he said.
He says visitors to other parts of the building are checked for symptoms. University Place worked with the Indiana Department of Health to follow COVID-19 guidelines and report the cases, he added.