State agencies report more than 2,300 long-term care facilities have been hit by coronavirus: report

State agencies report more than 2,300 long-term care facilities have been hit by coronavirus: report
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State agencies have reported more than 2,300 nursing homes that have experienced at least one coronavirus case, according to data analyzed by USA Today.

More than 3,000 people have died in these nursing homes across 37 states, which overshadows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) late March estimate that about 400 such facilities had been affected.

A total of 18,300 people across 26 states’ nursing homes have tested positive. Most of those individuals are residents, although some states combined the data for residents and staff. 

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The lack of consistent data tracking across states and the lack of testing likely mean many cases aren’t being documented in this total, USA Today noted. 

The newspaper requested data from all 50 states on the number of cases and deaths in nursing homes. Six states did not respond, including Florida, which has a high older population. Another six states declined to give some or all of the data.

Thirteen of the states provided partial data to USA Today because they are not tracking deaths specifically in nursing homes or couldn’t separate the staff and resident cases. 

About half of the coronavirus deaths in Iowa were people living in long-term care facilities. In New York, more than half of the nursing homes have at least one case, and in New Jersey, the number of facilities jumped to 285 from 159 over four days last week, according to the newspaper.

Health experts told the newspaper that the nursing home-specific data is needed to track the pandemic and to reduce future outbreaks in other facilities. Seven states told the newspaper they were working on improving the data collection. 

The U.S. has about 15,600 nursing homes with 1.3 million residents, according to the CDC. 

Three-quarters of these nursing homes received citations for failing to monitor or regulate infections in the past three years, according to a USA Today analysis of federal inspection data from last month. The citations ranged from paperwork issues to the facility failing to notify state officials that unmonitored workers were spreading disease in the home. 

The coronavirus outbreak first erupted in a Washington state nursing home where dozens of people have died. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last month these facilities are “an accelerator” for the virus.