The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has just published a data dashboard focusing on Virginia nursing homes. And the picture it presents is very different from that of the state’s acute care hospitals.
While acute care hospitals have solved their shortages of personal protective equipment, the nursing homes have not. According to the VHHA dashboard, 11 nursing home report difficulty obtaining N95 masks, four obtaining surgical masks, three obtaining gloves, seven obtaining face shields, and 18 laying hands on gloves.
Another noteworthy reveal from the data: The number of active COVID-19 patients currently in nursing homes is almost as large as that in acute care hospitals — 1,427 in nursing homes yesterday (and published today) compared to 1,502 in acute care hospitals.
The dashboard also tells us that 520 nursing home patients have recovered from COVID-19, compared to 4,107 who have recovered from acute care hospitals.
The data originates from the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System (VHASS), a program funded by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The dashboard reflects data voluntarily supplied by 190 of Virginia’s 287 nursing homes.
Bacon’s bottom line: Some obvious questions:
Why haven’t we seen this data before?
We know that the over-80 population accounts for literally half of all COVID-19-related deaths in Virginia (532 out of (1,014). A large percentage, if not the vast majority, reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. According to the Virginia Department of Health dashboard, outbreaks at nursing homes account for 595 of the state’s deaths.
To a large extent, the COVID-19 epidemic in Virginia is a nursing home epidemic — just as it is across the country. Now we find out that a significant number of nursing homes are having difficulty acquiring personal protective equipment.
Has the Northam administration dropped the ball on nursing homes?
Given the outsized role of nursing homes in the COVID-19 epidemic, it seems odd that this information hasn’t been made available until now, and that the VHHA was the entity to publish the data. By taking this action, one might speculate that VHHA is putting subtle pressure on the Northam administration to pay more attention to nursing homes because that’s where the worst problem is.
And the most important question of all: What does this mean for rolling back the shutdown?
If more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in Virginia can be traced to nursing homes, isn’t that where we should be focusing our attention? If you take Northern Virginia out of the equation and nursing homes out of the equation, what kind of public health threat does COVID-19 pose to Virginians? Is there even a flicker of a justification for the emergency measures now enacted?There are currently no comments highlighted.