the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the nation’s nursing homes, the facilities will now have to report all cases to patients and families, as well as to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Jersey officials on Monday released a list of 425 nursing homes and health care facilities where coronavirus outbreaks have sickened and killed residents in recent weeks. Given their congregate nature and residents served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19. If infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, residents are at increased risk of serious illness.
Tragically, 1,530 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in these facilities. Older Americans have proven particularly vulnerable to coronavirus . Clearly the focus of mitigation should be on protecting residents in long term care facilities , not banning walking in parks or playing golf .
Thousands of residents have died from coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with one of the earliest outbreaks in the US happening at the Life Care Center in Washington killing several dozen people. Many families have complained that they haven’t been told of what’s happening inside the facilities where their loved ones reside, though nursing homes are required to inform state or local health officials.
Now, nursing homes will have to tell patients and their families within 12 hours of a coronavirus diagnosis and give weekly updates.
The facilities will now have to provide information on confirmed and suspected cases, hospital admissions and deaths of patients and staff to the CDC, said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Her agency will also make the data available to the public but has not yet decided how. “Nursing homes have been ground zero for Covid-19,” said Verma, calling the new reporting requirement “critical” to monitoring the virus’ spread and reopening the country.
The agency has already issued guidance to nursing homes, advising facilities to restrict visitors, tighten infection control measures and ensure staff are using personal protective equipment.