Coronavirus Cases Surge in US Nursing Homes

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Coronavirus cases are dramatically rising in nursing homes as the pandemic sees a resurgence across the United States. 

According to an analysis of federal data, weekly cases among residents rose from 1,083 to 4,274 between the end of May to late October. The number of deaths among nursing home residents also saw an uptick from 318 to 699 per week, the Associated Press reported. 

A study by the University of Chicago found that weekly cases among nursing home staffers also quadrupled. Authorities reported 855 cases in the week ending on May 31 but recorded a staggering 4,050 in the week ending on Oct. 25. 

In New Hampshire, a nursing home administrator pleaded for help on a social media network after a novel coronavirus outbreak led to staff shortage, according to Valley News

“Our outbreak currently with 19 residents and 11 staff has left our nursing staffing in a critical situation,” Woodlawn Administrator Chris Martin wrote. 

“We have residents needing more care and less staff to take the load. The State has some crisis staffing for outbreaks, but they have been unable to fill any of our needs or open shifts.”

The Woodland nursing home has had 11 staff members infected with COVID-19, eight of whom were placed in isolation. One of the workers has made a full recovery, while two either took a leave or was no longer working with the facility. 

The outbreak was further exacerbated after healthy employees left. Some said their primary employers warned that they couldn’t keep their job if they continued to stay at Woodlawn due to the outbreak. 

Jake Leon, a spokesman for the state’s health department, said they are aware of the staffing shortage at Woodlawn and are working to resolve the situation. 

“We are in frequent contact with the administration at Woodlawn Care Center and aware of the situation. Our contracted staffing vendor is continuing to work on bringing in local health care personnel to assist the facility,” Leon said. 

The outbreak at the Woodlawn nursing home is the largest known outbreak in the Upper Valley. 

Coronavirus infections have also been on the rise among nursing homes in New Jersey. According to state health records, the Dellridge Health and Rehabilitation Center jumped from two the previous month to seven the previous week. The facility has also reported that 28 of its residents and 11 of its staff members tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Regency Gardens Nursing and Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center in Wayne also reported 24 coronavirus infections, including 18 residents and six staffers on Oct. 23, North Jersey reported. The Trump administration has allocated $5 billion to nursing homes, which were then used to purchase 14,000 rapid test machines and personal protective equipment. 

News of the outbreak among nursing homes comes as the United States set another daily record for COVID-19 cases. Authorities reported over 126,742 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, making it the third day in a row that the country has exceeded 120,000 cases. 

The number of daily deaths is also rising, with more than 1,000 reported on Saturday alone. South Dakota was one of the four states that reported record-high deaths for the week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

Some infectious disease experts believe the country’s coronavirus numbers are still conservative as many people remain untested due to having asymptomatic coronavirus. 

However, many believe that while the pandemic would unlikely to be over in 2021, the situation in the United States could get better, USA Today reported. 

As of Monday, the U.S. has reported more than 9.9 million COVID-19 cases and 237,574 deaths. 

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.