Update: U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 100,000
The CDC has announced that there have been at least 1,698,523 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with the death toll at 100,446. The World Heath Organization (WHO) reported that the total number of cases worldwide is now at 5,701,337 in 216 countries. The agency estimates the death toll worldwide at 357,688.
What’s the Problem?
Each year, more than 4 million people in the U.S. are admitted to nursing homes — also known as assisted-living facilities, retirement homes, convalescent hospitals or long-term care facilities — and more than 1 million people live permanently in them, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate from Coronavirus in these facilities is 10-17% for patients 85 and older, and 3-11% for those aged 65 to 84.
“Given their congregate nature and residents served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19,” CDC said.
COVID-19 Assisted-Living Risk Factors
Factors that increase the risk of Coronavirus infection in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities include:
- Frequent intimate interactions between patients and staff
- High numbers of patients and staff living and working in close quarters
- Visitors who come to see patients who may not have been properly screened
- Physicians, nurses, and staff who provide care at multiple facilities
- Chronic under-staffing and staffing turnover
- Patients with dementia who are unable to accurately report symptoms, understand or abide by guidelines, etc.
- Physical infrastructure of dated facilities
Nursing Home Coronavirus Outbreaks
More than 400 U.S. nursing home facilities have reported outbreaks of Coronavirus among residents, staff, or both. One of the first major clusters of COVID-19 cases occurred in a long-term residential care facility in Kirkland, Washington, where 81 residents, 34 employees, and 14 visitors developed the virus. Of these, at least 23 people died from resulting complications. Numerous other major outbreaks of Coronavirus have occurred at nursing homes in California, New York, and elsewhere.
10 Oregon Churches Sue Governor Over COVID-19 Restrictions
At least 10 churches across the state of Oregon have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Governor Kate Brown’s social distancing order infringes on their religious freedoms, according to The Oregonian. The suit, filed in Baker County Circuit Court on behalf of the nonprofit Pacific Justice Institute, claims that Brown’s order banning gatherings of more than 25 people is no longer justified.
The governor believes churches and other faith-based organizations can still “tend to the spiritual needs of their congregations without putting the health and safety of their entire communities at risk,’’ according to Liz Merah, Brown’s spokeswoman. “We ask all Oregonians to follow the spirit of the Governor’s stay home order, which is to minimize gatherings outside the home as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.’’
54 Residents at Massachusetts Adult Care Home Dead From Coronavirus
At least 171 residents of the Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, Massachusetts, have tested positive for COVID-19, including 54 who died, according to CBS Boston. Most of the residents who tested positive were asymptomatic, officials said. All residents are now being screened for coronavirus symptoms, up to 3 times per day.
“In this instance, 57% of residents who initially tested positive were asymptomatic,” said Courtyard Nursing Care Center spokesperson Lori Mayer. “It is a complex virus that is hard to detect and can take weeks to present itself. By the time you have a positive test result, many may have already been exposed. It is likely that we will never know exactly how the virus entered the facility.”
Maryland Confirms 1,053 New COVID-19 Cases, 28 Deaths
Health officials in Maryland have confirmed at least 1,053 new cases of the coronavirus, including 28 deaths, according to the Baltimore Sun. The new cases bring to 32,587 Maryland’s total number of cases of COVID-19, and 1,538 fatalities statewide since the pandemic began.
3 Deaths, 26 Coronavirus Cases Reported at Virginia Beach Senior Care Center
Three residents at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help senior care facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia, have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to WVEC. In addition to the deaths, at least 26 other residents at the facility have tested positive for the virus, and staff members are working with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to control the spread of infection. In a letter to residents and family members, administrator Terri Anderson wrote that the coronavirus is “pervasive, deceptive, and unsparing in the people that it affects.”
Coronavirus Strikes 80 Missouri Nursing Homes
COVID-19 has infected residents in nearly 80 nursing homes and assisted care facilities in Missouri, according to KMOV News 4. Statewide, the virus has been confirmed at 79 facilities, including 46 in St. Louis County, 12 in St. Louis City and 9 in St. Charles County. Two facilities have been affected in both Franklin and Jackson counties. Adair, Cass, Green, Jefferson, Moniteau, Pemiscot, Platte and Scott counties each have 1 affected facility.
California Nursing Home Reports Nearly 100 Cases of COVID-19
A nursing home in San Jose, California, with one of the first reported outbreaks of coronavirus in an elder care facility has reached nearly 100 cases among patients and staff, according to the Mercury News. Canyon Springs Post Acute Care first notified patients’ families during the last week of March that 2 patients and an employee had been diagnosed with COVID-19, which has since spread through the facility and infected at least 99 people, including 5 patients who died.
30 Patients, 2 Staff Die of COVID-19 in New Jersey Nursing Home
At least 30 residents and 2 employees at the Oakland Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in New Jersey have died from complications of coronavirus, according to ABC 7. Oakland’s mayor said she is now in contact with officials at the facility. All of New Jersey’s roughly 400 nursing homes have at least 1 positive coronavirus case, and there have been about 1,700 deaths from the virus statewide.
Family of Coronavirus Victim Sues North Carolina Nursing Home
A lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court alleges that chronic neglect and a botched response by a nursing home in Salisbury, North Carolina, caused one of the state’s largest outbreaks of coronavirus, according to the Charlotte Observer. The court filing chronicles how the outbreak overwhelmed the Citadel Salisbury and turned Rowan County into one of North Carolina’s worst COVID-19 hot spots. More than 100 residents and employees of the nursing home have tested positive for the virus, and at least 17 people have died in Rowan County.
40% of Coronavirus Deaths in Connecticut Occurred in Nursing Homes
At least 768 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Connecticut nursing home residents and employees, according to the Hartford Courant. Nursing home fatalities have more than doubled over the last week as complaints are growing that the state isn’t doing enough to protect workers in long-term care facilities. Overall, about 43% of Connecticut’s deaths from coronavirus are nursing home patients. Among the state’s 215 nursing homes, at least 137 have had patients test positive for COVID-19.
How One Nursing Home Avoided COVID-19
The San Francisco Center for Jewish Living (SFCJL), a 9-acre senior living complex that houses more than 300 residents that are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, has not had a single positive test for the virus, according to Wired. Peggy Cmiel, director of clinical operations at SFCJL, credits the staff with taking the following critical steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the facility:
- Preparing early
- Stocking up on personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks for workers and residents
- Screening everyone who walked in the door for symptoms
- Hiring more staff to clean bathrooms and common areas
- Educating everyone on best practices for containing the virus
“Getting an early start was really the most helpful thing we did,” Cmiel said. “The doorknobs in this facility have never been more clean before.”
The following signs and symptoms of COVID-19 appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses):
- Shortness of breath
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC.
Families Fear for Nursing Home Residents as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs: NBC News Video
Although most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, the virus can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. Complications may include:
- Pneumonia in both lungs
- Organ failure in multiple organs
Source: Mayo Clinic
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you develop any of the following early warning signs of Coronavirus, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face (cyanosis)
Please note: this is not an all-inclusive list of COVID-19 early warning signs. Consult your doctor immediately for any other symptoms that are concerning to you.
Do I Have a Coronavirus Nursing Home Lawsuit?
The Workplace & Environmental Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Coronavirus Nursing Home Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one was a resident or employee of a nursing home who was diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.