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Report finds 21% more COVID nursing home deaths in Indiana

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Indiana health leaders said they were working Wednesday to determine why a federal report found about 200 more coronavirus-related deaths among the state’s nursing home residents than state officials had tallied.

Posted: Jun 4, 2020 8:55 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health leaders said they were working Wednesday to determine why a federal report found about 200 more coronavirus-related deaths among the state’s nursing home residents than state officials had tallied.

An apparent slowdown of coronavirus-related deaths is continuing in Indiana as figures released by state health officials show it has been more than a week since more than 20 people died with infections.

NURSING HOMES

A report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday listed 1,141 total COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents as of May 24. That number is 196, or 21%, more than the 945 such deaths reported this week by the Indiana State Department of Health.

State officials suspect the difference stems from Indiana nursing homes only being asked once in early April for a total number of previous COVID-19 deaths and infections, while they have since been required to report new cases within 24 hours, said Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the state Family and Social Services Administration.

Nursing home administrators have known about the federal survey for more than a month, he said.

“Facilities have likely had a lot more time to go back and accurately account and report these cases,” Rusyniak said.

The partial numbers in the federal report are certain to go higher, as information from only about half of Indiana nursing homes was included.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials have stopped identifying nursing homes with outbreaks, despite complaints from relatives of home residents about a lack of communication about illnesses and deaths. State officials maintain those facilities face federal and state requirements to notify the families about their COVID-19 status.

Rusyniak said he believed the addition nearly 200 nursing homes deaths were already included in the state’s total of 2,207 confirmed or presumed infection-related fatalities. The federal report figures would mean 52% of Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths involved nursing home residents.

State officials are working on guidance allowing nursing homes to permit outdoor visits by residents with family members and friends, Rusyniak said.

That relaxing of a ban on nursing home visitors will come as the state aims to have all facility staff members tested for the coronavirus by the end of June. Rusyniak said such tests will identify employees who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms and help prevent additional nursing home outbreaks.

Testing of residents won’t be required but reserved for instances where they might have faced coronavirus exposure, he said.

DEATH SLOWDOWN

May 25 was the last day for which as many as 20 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the state. That level is down from the period between early April and mid-May when more than 30 COVID-19 deaths were recorded most days, with the deadliest day on April 22 with 50 fatalities, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The agency reported on Wednesday 10 additional COVID-19 deaths, giving the state’s a total of 2,207 confirmed or presumed infection-related fatalities. The newly recorded deaths occurred between Friday and Tuesday.

Indiana hospitals still had 357 COVID-19 patients in their intensive care units on Tuesday.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 665285

Reported Deaths: 12697
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion910581653
Lake48637887
Allen36050641
Hamilton32231398
St. Joseph30243514
Elkhart25484420
Vanderburgh21315382
Tippecanoe20185205
Johnson16425361
Porter16053276
Hendricks15899301
Clark12032182
Madison11779321
Vigo11672231
Monroe10394164
Delaware9879179
LaPorte9821198
Howard9095199
Kosciusko8588111
Bartholomew7504147
Warrick7445153
Hancock7439134
Floyd7255172
Wayne6654192
Grant6453157
Boone611991
Morgan6118126
Dubois5933112
Dearborn550669
Cass5477100
Marshall5446105
Henry542695
Noble510978
Jackson465567
Shelby462591
Lawrence4193113
Gibson404985
Harrison402764
Clinton397053
Montgomery390584
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350638
Huntington348377
Steuben339855
Wabash333076
Putnam331960
Ripley327862
Adams325149
Jasper318443
White298052
Jefferson295974
Daviess285696
Fayette272656
Decatur271388
Greene262280
Posey261432
Wells258975
Scott251450
LaGrange242170
Clay241444
Randolph225877
Spencer219330
Jennings216344
Washington213027
Sullivan203639
Fountain202542
Starke189251
Owen183453
Fulton179637
Jay178528
Carroll176919
Perry173836
Orange171351
Rush165422
Vermillion161542
Franklin159735
Tipton149241
Parke140116
Pike128433
Blackford120627
Pulaski107544
Newton96732
Brown95240
Benton92413
Crawford92113
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54111
Unassigned0434

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