Hundreds of long-term care facilities across the U.S. have confirmed cases of the coronavirus among their residents, with the number of facilities growing rapidly.
NBC News reported Monday that more than 400 facilities have reported cases of the virus, a 172 percent increase from the number of facilities that had reported cases this time last week, which was 146.
The alarming surge represents a challenge for state health officials, as residents of long-term care facilities tend to be older and suffer from long-term illnesses or conditions – both of which place them at greater risk – at a higher rate than the general population. Many facilities also have residents living or interacting in close quarters on a daily basis.
About 150 of the facilities reporting residents with symptoms were in New York state, which has become the epicenter of coronavirus in the United States. More than 66,000 cases have been confirmed in the state, while deaths from the disease have risen past 1,200.
A spokesperson for an industry trade group told NBC News that they had not issued specific guidance for facilities past urging them to keep patients and their family members informed about the latest measures taken to stop the disease from spreading.
"We’ve encouraged facilities and family members to make sure they have the most updated emergency contact information and we encourage facilities to continue to keep loved ones updated about residents and the entire facility," an American Health Care Association official said. "Each facility may have different ways they do that, so we have not given exact direction on how they implement that process."