A new study has revealed that nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths nationwide have occurred in nursing homes.
No state has a higher percentage of fatalities from nursing home residents — 81.9% — than Minnesota.
Despite that, state regulators in the Land of 10,000 Lakes are still allowing nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients.
Per The Star-Tribune:
Early in the pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Health turned to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to relieve the burden on hospitals that were at risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Minnesota hospitals have since discharged dozens of infected patients to nursing homes, including facilities that have undergone large and deadly outbreaks of the disease, state records show.
Now that practice is drawing strong opposition from some lawmakers, residents’ families and health watchdogs, who warn that such transfers endanger residents of senior homes that are understaffed and ill-equipped to contain the spread of the coronavirus. They are calling for more state scrutiny over transfers, including stricter standards over which nursing homes should be allowed to accept COVID-19 patients from hospitals.
Currently, even poorly rated nursing homes with large and deadly clusters of coronavirus cases have been allowed to admit COVID-19 patients from hospitals. One such facility, North Ridge Health and Rehab in New Hope, has accepted 42 patients from hospitals and other long-term care facilities since mid-April even as the coronavirus has raged through its 320-bed nursing home, killing 48 of its patients and infecting scores more.
“It makes no sense to bring more COVID-19 patients into facilities that have already failed to protect them,” said Sen. Karin Housley, the Republican chairwoman of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee. “If it were my mom or dad in one of these facilities, I would be really worried.”