In Ohio, 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths have happened in long-term care facilities, far above the national average of 42 percent, data show.
The report comes from FreOpp.
The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 affects the elderly far more severely, on average, than younger individuals.
But it turns out that among those who are elderly, deaths are concentrated even further among those living in long term care facilities. This has implications for both those who live in such facilities and those who don’t.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.1 million people live in nursing homes or residential care facilities, representing 0.6% of the U.S. population.
The CDC says both the congregate nature and resident population (older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions) make nursing home populations at a high risk of being affected by respiratory pathogens like COVID-19 as well as other pathogens, including multidrug-resistant organisms (e.g., Carbapenemase-producing organisms, Candida auris ).
As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong infection prevention and control (IPC) program is critical to protect both residents and healthcare personnel (HCP), the CDC says.
The CDC also says facilities should report these to the health department:
- Resident or HCP with suspected or confirmed COVID-19,
- Resident with severe respiratory infection resulting in hospitalization or death, or
- ≥ 3 residents or HCP with new-onset respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other.
FREOPP says other nations report a similar situation.
A study by researchers at the International Long Term Care Policy Network of fatalities in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom found that 40.8 percent of reported COVID-19 fatalities took place in nursing homes.
In response to nursing homes’ vulnerability, the state is doing more testing and sending teams of infection control experts, The Plain Dealer said, quoting Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran.
There are “healthcare isolation centers,” or nursing homes around the state that agreed to quarantine and treat coronavirus patients. Each nursing home has been assigned to a nearby hospital to handle any COVID-19 cases.
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FreOpp) says it conducts original research on expanding economic opportunity to those who least have it. FREOPP is committed to deploying the nation’s leading scholars and the tools of individual liberty, free enterprise, and technological innovation to serve this mission.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.