More than 10,000 men and women have died in the nation’s long-term care facilities from the coronavirus, Kaiser Family Foundation announced Thursday after analyzing state by state data. The number is an undercount because not all states are reporting the data.
As of April 23, the largest number of death have occurred in several Northeastern states, including New York (3,505 deaths), New Jersey (2,050 deaths), Massachusetts (1,205 deaths) and Pennsylvania (845 deaths), according to Kaiser.
There have been nearly 51,000 infections with COVID-19 at more than 4,000 long-term facilities in 36 states. New Jersey reported the highest number of infections at 11,608 and North Dakota the lowest at 61.
“Residents of long-term care facilities are among the most vulnerable to infection and serious illness from COVID-19 because of the population density in the facilities and residents’ underlying health issues,” reported Kaiser Family Foundation which is based in San Francisco.
In Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah, deaths in long-term care account for more than 50 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.
Until recently, there was no federal requirement for nursing homes to report coronavirus outbreaks and COVID deaths, leading to an information gap for families, residents and policymakers.
On April 19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a guidelines requiring nursing homes to report cases of coronavirus directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That data is not yet available.
“The situation in many nursing homes is an emergency. It may be time to consider sending military health response teams to nursing homes and temporarily moving residents who are able to community and to rural hospitals where there is room,” said Drew Altman, KFF’s president and CEO.