Maryland governor issues new directive to combat nursing home outbreaks; American Health Care Association CEO Mark Parkinson weighs in.
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A new tally shows 2,246 people have died inside nursing home deaths from the coronavirus in at least 24 states.
The numbers were compiled by NBC News, which also reported that nearly 2,500 long-term care facilities in 36 states are battling coronavirus cases – an explosive 522 percent increase in just 10 days.
The numbers are incomplete because the federal government doesn’t keep a formal tally of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes or the number of facilities with infections, according to the network on Friday.
“It’s impossible to fight and contain this virus if we don’t know where it’s located,” said Harvard Medical School professor David Grabowski told NBC.
Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico County, Virginia. (Google Maps)
The report comes as The New York Times on Saturday reported equally disturbing numbers regarding coronavirus deaths at nursing homes in New York and New Jersey.
As of Friday, more than half of New York’s 613 licensed nursing homes had reported coronavirus infections, with 4,630 total positive cases and 1,439 deaths, the Times reported.
In New Jersey, nursing homes had been linked to 252 virus-related deaths, more than 90 of them in the past two days, according to the paper. At least 70 percent of the state’s long care centers have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
“The story is not about whether there’s COVID-19 in the nursing homes,” Scott LaRue, chief executive of ArchCare, operator of five nursing homes in New York, told the paper. “The story is, why aren’t they being treated with the same respect and the same resources that everyone else out there is? It’s ridiculous.”
Nursing homes in other states are battling to contain the spread of the virus, which has been found to be more fatal for people who are older.
In Florida, there have been 731 coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities, according to a Fox News tally Saturday. On March 22, there were only 30 such cases. Florida doesn't track deaths.
Fox News also found that there have been coronavirus outbreaks at 47 nursing homes in Mississippi, at 29 nursing homes in North Carolina and at 10 nursing homes in Tennessee. There were 10 deaths at one Tennessee facility.
Separately, in Georgia, the number of long-term care facilities with coronavirus outbreaks grew in seven days from 47 to 80 on Friday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The paper quoted health officials as reported Wednesday that 81 people in long-term facilities had died from the coronavirus.
One of the deadliest nursing home coronavirus outbreaks has overwhelmed Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico County, near Richmond, Virginia.
The facility reported another COVID-19 death Friday, putting the center’s death count at 40, according to WRIC-TV.
Earlier in the week, the facility said the virus had killed 28 residents and sickened nearly 100 more.
“This will not be the last untreatable virus to decimate our elders,” Canterbury’s medical director Dr. James Wright told a news conference Friday, according to WRIC. “It is a battle that at times we feel we’re losing. It’s a battle that we have fight day and night, seven days a week.”
He added: “We see these residents as family. Our frontline workers have cared for them again for sometimes 10-15 years. To see a resident pass and to have nothing you can do to prevent that from happening is traumatic.”