The latest surge of coronavirus cases is increasing a record number of nursing home outbreaks, as the virus is spreading rapidly inside long-term care facilities in the Midwest and Great Plains, while the first wave of virus-swept facilities also reverberates. Emerging from .
According to an NBC News analysis of federal data, more than 1,300 nursing homes across the US have confirmed three or more of the Kovid-19 cases during the first week of November – the highest number in a week. The figure does not include outbreaks in assisted living facilities, which the federal government does not track.
Several new nursing home infections are emerging in the Midwestern states, where the virus engulfs the wider community, including Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, with some of the nation’s largest weekly increases in suspected and confirmed cases Is the report. Residents, data showed. (Facilities report suspicious cases when residents exhibit Kovid-19 symptoms, but have yet to receive positive test results.)
Nursing home case numbers are also increasing in rural areas with spikes in the Great Plains. Facilities in South Dakota reported 253 new infections among residents during the week which ended 8 – three times the number reported a week earlier. And nationwide, a large number of facilities are reporting staff shortages, and some are still struggling to obtain personal protective equipment and reliable testing.
Bill Sweeney, senior vice president of government affairs at AARP, has urged Congress to pass more funding for the test. Personal protective equipment and staff for the country’s 15,000 nursing homes.
Friendship Haven, which runs a nursing home and facilitates living in Fort Dodge, Iowa, had a few isolated Kovid-19 cases over the summer, but the state’s record increase, among 12 staff members and 14 residents Recently tested positive.
Julie Thorson, president and CEO of Friendship Haven, said, “Masks are still not acceptable here, and it’s very disappointing. The community is not really understanding.” “You’re worried about the inconvenience of a mask, and my staff has been sweating and crying through their masks since March.”
New outbreaks are also emerging in the facilities that the first wave of the epidemic has suffered – causing thousands of Northeast residents and other early hot spots to die – only for the virus to return.
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22 residents had died during the spring from Kovid-19, a nursing home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Jewish Senior Service; Andrew Bannoff, its president and CEO, said about three-quarters of employees were infected. He added that personal protective equipment was so rare that he resorted to a direct supply facility from a Chinese company.
Within a few months, the cases were eventually reduced to convenience and a wider area. In mid-June, Connecticut began requiring weekly Kovid-19 tests for all nursing home staff members and residents and funded all tests. Other states have implemented similar testing requirements, although not all are paid for testing.
The nursing home was virus-free during the summer and early fall. Then, in mid-October, case numbers began to rise once again in Connecticut, with the first staff member testing positive. Bant said more than nineteen staff members and eight residents have been infected. Two residents died from Kovid-19 last week.
“We knew we were on borrowed time,” Bannoff said. “But it was devastating when we all had to go in families and call not only residents who tested positive, but who were exposed through staff. We had to call 84.”
Jewish Senior Services and other long-term care facilities have better access to testing and personal protective equipment than Spring. The federal government has rapidly distributed billions of dollars in Kovid-19 relief funds to test homes as well as nursing homes, although they are less accurate than laboratory-based tests.
But nursing homes around the country are still reporting protective devices and test delays. As of the first week of November, 1 in 10 facilities said they did not have a week’s supply of N95 masks, according to federal data. A third of almost all nursing homes said that they would have to wait for three to seven days to get the Kovid-19 exam results.
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Providers worry that access to both protective equipment and testing will become more difficult as case numbers continue to increase. The federal government unveiled new testing guidelines in late August, requiring staff members to be tested monthly, weekly, or twice a week, based on the county’s overall positivity rate. Nursing homes still face difficulty using the tests, with staff members freeing them up and covering costs, according to LeadingEdge, an industry group that represents nonprofit long-term care facilities.
“Our pleas are being ignored. A press call on Monday stated that the support we have received is insufficient and running out quickly. “The virus is raging, infection rates have skyrocketed, and the pool of financial aid is running low.”
The national reserves – aimed at a backstop for health care facilities that have exhausted their supplies – are also facing shortages. In July, the federal government said it wanted to have a 90-day supply of critical personal protective equipment on hand. However, as of last week, the Strategic National Stockpile had almost half of the 300 million N95 masks needed to meet the target and less than 1 percent of gloves, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
There is a lack of even more extensive staff. According to the latest federal data, one in 5 nursing homes in the US has a reported shortage, and 17 percent have a shortage of nurses. Although adequate staffing at care facilities has been a problem for a long time, because of low pay and challenging working conditions, the epidemic has worsened staff shortages, which new research has linked to higher Kovid-19 infection rates.
“We are going to see more and more staff shortages around the country as employees get sick and are not really ready to work in situations where they don’t feel safe. And they don’t pay their salaries or their Do not feel supported in terms of benefits. ”Said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.
Victoria Richardson, who earned $ 14 an hour as a certified nursing assistant at a Chicago-area nursing home, said her facility has been bleeding staff members since the onset of the epidemic. When the first wave of the virus hit the Forest View Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the spring, management began to provide a dangerous salary of $ 200 every two weeks, but it stopped additional payments in August.
Now according to federal records, staff members at the facility are re-infecting, but according to service union International Union Healthcare, the dangerous pay at Forest View or other Chicago-area nursing homes run by Infinity Healthcare Management has not returned , Which represents Richardson and other staff members. (Infinity Healthcare Management did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
Richardson, 51, has been struggling to pay her bills since her husband died of cancer in September, and now fears losing her home. He is still concerned about contracting the virus, which has killed 18 residents in Forest View since the onset of the epidemic. Even now, she said, staff members struggle to obtain the proper safety equipment. On Monday, Richardson and about 700 other Infinity nursing home workers went on strike demanding higher pay and appropriate protective equipment.
“I have to reuse the same mask for a week, and I don’t get an N95 unless I insist on it,” Richardson said.
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