Almost 26,000 Nursing Home Residents Deaths From COVID-19, CDC Reports

A new report highlights the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on nursing homes nationwide, indicating that nearly 26,000 individuals have died in nursing homes or long-term care facilities since the coronavirus pandemic emerged about three months ago.

According to Nursing Home COVID-19 Data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-quarter of all coronavirus deaths occurred in nursing home facilities.

The report is the first time data from nursing home deaths from COVID-19 has been compiled or shared by the federal government since the coronavirus outbreak first began in late February 2020. The report was sent to state governors in a letter on Sunday, and details CMS’s plans to ramp up penalties and enforcement for infection control efforts in nursing homes.

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According to the findings, at least 25,923 deaths in nursing homes have been linked to the coronavirus.

Federal regulators estimate the data accounts for 80% of the nation’s nursing home deaths. This is because federal guidelines only required states to report fatalities beginning in May, well after the epidemic was underway in the U.S. Earlier nursing home outbreak fatalities, like those seen in Seattle or New York, may not be included in the data.

An ABC news report conducted in mid-May used a state-by-state analysis that determined more than 37,000 coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes, which suggests federal data may be under-representing the national nursing home resident deaths.

In addition, data reporting differs from state-by-state, because of the way it is tracked. This can affect accurate reporting of deaths.

Federal investigators are exploring the possibility of nursing home neglect playing a role in the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first detected in a nursing home in Washington State that became the epicenter for the U.S. pandemic. Investigators say the nursing home failed to respond to the outbreak adequately, placing residents in jeopardy of illness and death.

Facing growing criticism and lawsuits, many nursing homes are seeking immunity from coronavirus death lawsuits.

The new report also includes data on 449 nursing home staff deaths linked to the outbreak. Federal officials now recommend all nursing home residents and staff be tested for COVID-19.

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