Indiana doing more to protect nursing homes from coronavirus

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INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana): Indiana is ramping up efforts to protect residents of long-term care facilities from coronavirus.

Indiana has had 31 coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities — 70% of those are in just four homes. The Family and Social Services Administration says it’s working on guidelines to set up dedicated facilities for coronavirus patients.

FSSA chief medical officer Dan Rusyniak says there needs to be a place for patients who aren’t sick enough to take up beds in a hospital but run a risk of infecting other residents if they stay where they are. He says nursing homes and other longterm facilities need to communicate with local health departments and hospitals, so hospitals know what to expect and know there’s a medical “halfway house” where they can safely send patients.

Rusyniak says longterm facilities are “a perfect storm” for contagion because they have large numbers of people in close quarters, usually with underlying health problems.

The Indiana State Department of Health is ordering nursing homes, group homes, and prisons to report any virus cases or deaths within 24 hours, whether it’s a resident or an employee. The department is already sending “strike teams” into homes that report suspected virus infections to perform testing and advise administrators on how to keep the outbreak under control.

The 31 deaths in long-term facilities represent 15-percent of Indiana’s 203 coronavirus deaths.


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