The state is releasing detailed COVID-19 information for the Indiana nursing dwelling for the primary time
INDIANAPOLIS – For months as nursing homes across Indiana battled to control the spread of COVID-19, the real toll of the pandemic was kept secret. The heads of state refused to publish data showing the number of cases and deaths in each facility.
Under pressure from AARP, lawmakers, 13News and other media, the Indiana Department of Health has now released the information.
“Of the 756 facilities we asked for data, 630 or 83 percent did so,” said Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, Chief Medical Officer of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. “This is a mandate and, as such, they must do so or face potential penalties.”
The data, submitted directly to the ISDH by long-term care facilities, confirmed which nursing homes across the state were hardest hit by COVID-19. Some of these nursing homes are located in central Indiana:
- Greenwood Health Center -192 COVID cases and 31 deaths
- Wildwood Health Center, Indianapolis – 173 COVID cases and 19 deaths
- Greenwood Meadows – 113 COVID cases and 35 deaths
- Bethany Pointe, Anderson – 83 COVID cases and 33 deaths
- Harrison Terrace, Indianapolis – 71 COVID cases and 38 deaths
The state’s newly released data not only reports cases among residents of nursing homes, but also the number of positive cases among employees. For example, Northwest Manor in Indianapolis reported 41 workers who tested positive for COVID-19.
Overall data shows that 5,867 long-term care residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 1, and 1,390 of those residents have died. That equates to 53 percent of all deaths in the state from the coronavirus. Nursing homes have reported 2,521 coronavirus infections and 12 employee deaths. ISDH has decided not to report actual numbers for facilities reporting five or fewer infections.
While the aggregated data is useful – the statewide nursing home’s COVID-19 totals have been reported weekly by ISDH for several months – it’s the facility-specific data that health care advocates and families have been dying to see since the pandemic began. In addition to knowing which nursing homes have reported high numbers of cases (132 facilities in Indiana report at least 10 residents who tested positive for COVID-19), families also want to know which nursing homes have no reported cases. According to the ISDH, there are also many of them.
“It’s important for families because we have people who make very important decisions about where to put a loved one, and this will help them educate them and help them make better decisions,” Sara said Waddle, who serves as the Indiana State Director of AARP. “I know we would have preferred to have the information sooner, but we’re glad it’s out there now.”
She believes the data will play a crucial role in determining future COVID-19 policy.
“It’s good that we dig deeper into this information and make sure we have the most accurate picture. Let’s see what kind of story this tells us and what we can learn from it,” she said. “I hope the data will really be explored to see what we can learn, what facilities are doing right and what we can learn from it, and it will be interesting to see if the outbreak in the nursing homes correlates with what So, by and large, we can determine whether the nursing homes can be an indicator of what is happening in the community. “
The state health department has announced that it will update the data weekly and plans to present the data in a more user-friendly format over the next three weeks. In the meantime, 13News has organized the nursing home information into a searchable database so that it can be searched by a specific nursing home.