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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.

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194

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