by Carol J. Bova
We’ve seen reports that close to half of the COVID-19 deaths are from outbreaks in long term-care facilities (i.e., nursing homes, assisted living or multi-care facilities, group homes). There’s another story though, when you compare COVID-19 facts by the age ranges the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) uses in its reports.
The first age range in the table below covers birth-to-29 years because the number of deaths is so low. The next two cover twenty years each, and the last is for everyone over 70. That group has experienced only 9.2% of all COVID-19 cases but 73.5% of all COVID-19 deaths in Virginia.
In spite of VDH point-prevalence testing in the summer and federal distribution of testing equipment and supplies, the outbreaks in long term care facilities have risen to 442, affecting a total of 11,200 residents with 54 new outbreaks, 1,849 cases and 279 deaths since September 1. Unfortunately, more of those recently infected will die.
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported nursing homes with difficulties in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) on six of the last ten days. Have problems with PPE had anything to do with the over-70 death toll?
What happened since April with the Commonwealth’s $27 million contract with the medical logistics company, Northfield, that Governor Northam announced was to relieve the “severe shortage” of PPE?
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) hired McKinsey and Company, a global management consultant company, for three weeks in early April. The $585,000 contract was extended for another week and the company reduced their fee to $573,680 in late April. Part of the contract for the Week 4 Scope listed “additional support to operationalize additional interventions to unlock PPE supplies. … Develop a methodology for, and size state-wide PPE requirements (beyond public health system requirements…and options on the role of the state to ensure availability.”
McKinsey and Company’s website lists part of its work with the Commonwealth as, “Identifying approaches to increase personal protective equipment (PPE) capacity, across supply and demand, and supporting the state to kick-off an integrated program” and “Providing the state with supply chain and logistics insights and best practices.”
How did that work out? There don’t seem to be any statements from Governor Northam on the results of either contact.
The COVID-19 Long-Term Task Force lists Guidance, Primary Resources, Training Resources, and other documents on the VDH website. This is what the website says:
Governor Northam established the Virginia COVID-19 Long-Term Care Task Force on April 10 to:
- Ensure long-term care facilities have the resources they need to combat the virus;
- Strengthen staffing, testing and infection control measures at long-term care facilities; and
- Keep stakeholders informed about the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities.
Issue areas being reviewed by the Task Force include facility staffing and financing, infection control, personal protective equipment and supplies, COVID-19 testing, communications, and discharge planning.
Have they accomplished any of these goals? There is no statement how the Task Force has improved the COVID-19 situation in LTCFs, or if it has at all.
Where are the statements about what VDH is doing to reduce the death toll of our oldest citizens?
Our elder Virginians deserve better.
Note: To get Virginia population numbers matching the VDH age ranges, I used 2018 estimates.There are currently no comments highlighted.