Update on Coronavirus Infections in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes with prior infection control violations much more likely to have coronavirus infections now.

According to a recent LA. Times article, 89% of LA County nursing homes with current outbreaks of the coronavirus or Covid-19 have had infection control violations in the last few years. Long term care facilities have many elderly residents, some with serious underlying health conditions. This makes California nursing homes especially vulnerable to an outbreak of the coronavirus – which appears to be especially deadly for elderly persons with poor underlying health. A review of the California Department of Public Health records of nursing homes in LA County found that most of the facilities with coronavirus infections were cited in prior years for violating federal safety rules relating to infection control.

Data reviewed from LA County indicated that nearly 1/3 of the 320 deaths were residents of nursing homes. While the coronavirus has created havoc across the nation and even in highly rated nursing homes, the data strongly indicates that facilities with previous safety violations related to infection control are likely to have coronavirus infections now with their residents. For example, 59 out of 66 facilities with at least one Covid-19 infection have had a prior infection control violation in the last 3 years. Further, according to the article, the problems boil down to the same issues: understaffing and weak enforcement of the laws by state regulators. Other issues common to facilities with prior violations are a lack of Registered Nurses to oversee the infection control procedures of a facility. Violations for failing to wash hands, cross-contamination, and not identifying contagious individuals were all cited as some of the violations of federal law.

It should not be surprising that facilities with a poor track record of infection control in the past are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.

For a full review of the article, see:
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-14/coronavirus-nursing-homes-infections-past-violations-citation.

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