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New Tool to Track Virginia’s COVID-19 Cases in Nursing Facilities

In the U.S., there are over 1.6 million cases of COVID-19 and 98,261 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  While 11% of all cases nationally have occurred in long-term care facilities, the Associated Press recently reported that “outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have claimed more than 33,000 lives, more than a third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S.”  Nursing home residents, who tend to be elderly with underlying chronic medical conditions and who live in close proximity to others, are particularly vulnerable to the disease once they get it.  In a recent analysis conducted by The New York Times, 160 long-term care facilities in Virginia reported 3,707 cases and 489 deaths, which represents 58% of the deaths in Virginia.

To help disseminate relevant COVID-19 related statistics in Virginia’s licensed nursing facilities, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) recently launched a new online data dashboard, which will serve as a useful tool for students, faculty, and the community.  The dashboard provides statistics in two areas:  cases and personal protective equipment (PPE).  Daily statistics are reported for the following measures:

*  Combined number of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and patients whose COVID-19 test results are pending, who are patients or residents in licensed nursing facilities
*  Number of residents or patients in licensed nursing facilities who have been confirmed positive for COVID-19
*  Number of residents or patients in licensed nursing facilities whose COVID-19 test results are pending
*  Total cumulative number of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients or residents who have recovered in licensed nursing facilities

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

*  Number of Virginia facilities reporting difficulty in obtaining certain PPE in the next 72 hours (e.g., N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, face shields, and isolation gowns)

Interested researchers may also want to review The New York Times database related to nursing home residents and workers, which includes an updated list of cases and deaths for each long-term care facility that has had at least 50 cases.  In Virginia, there are three such facilities:  Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Richmond; Accordius Health nursing home in Harrisonburg; and Skyview Springs Rehab and Nursing Center in Luray.

Information on Covid-19 cases and deaths, particularly at a facility level, is important to families as they make decisions about care for their loved ones.  To this end, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently issued new regulations requiring each nursing home to report weekly any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and staff, and CDC will make this information publicly available by the end of May.