An unfortunate reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is the CDC reports that those who reside in nursing homes face an increased risk of contraction and complications. As a result, a high number of deaths nationwide can be attributed to those in nursing homes. The New York Times published an article on May 11, 2020, that outlined the death rate of residents living in long-term care facilities across the United States.
In their article, The Times reports that more than 28,000 long-term care facility residents and healthcare workers have died from the virus. Over 7,700 facilities have been affected with over 150,000 cases reported in facilities nationwide. Around one-third of all cases reported by states were in long-term care facilities, according to their data.
While only 11% of the overall cases of COVID-19 are reported to be in long-term care facilities, the percentage rises to 35% when examining the data about overall deaths in the United States. This is partially due to health complications many elderly patients may experience from underlying and pre-existing conditions that put them at a higher risk.
As of May 11, Pennsylvania was not one of the states that reported comprehensive data from its facilities, but still ranked fourth in the number of deaths in facilities with 2,529, and third in the number of cases overall with 13,290. New Jersey and Massachusetts rank higher in both categories and New York ranks higher in deaths. From the data received, it is shown that 66% of the deaths from COVID-19 in Pennsylvania occur in long-term care facilities.
While these numbers remain high, an article by NPR says that only 80% of facilities have provided the mandatory data reports. Facilities that fail to provide the data may face fines. Fines may also be issued if nursing homes fail to sufficiently control the rate of infection, with higher fines if the facility has a history of bad infection control.
On May 19, The Pennsylvania Department of Health released the data it has collected from nursing homes around the state, revealing that about two-thirds of all deaths in the state (4,624 at that time) were residents of long-term care facilities. Deaths ran at a higher rate in facilities with a lower number of residents.
Pennsylvania’s number of deaths is now up to 5,886, as of June 4, with over half of these in people over the age of 50. 28% of deaths were those over the age of 65.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently released a document that lists the death rates in facilities throughout the state. It had previously refused in order to keep the privacy of the residents and workers. The list was updated as of June 2, 2020. The list displayed the name of the facility, the city and country it is in, the source the data came from, and the number of resident and work cases as well as the number of resident deaths. 6abc provides a searchable version of this database on their website.