INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana's nursing home deaths from COVID-19 continued to grow this week as earlier state data minimized the scope of the fatalities.
State health officials initially provided aggregate numbers for deaths and infections in long-term care facilities – refusing to identify cases at specific homes. After the federal government began releasing facility-specific information, the state reversed course.
Last week, the state posted its first numbers using a new data input system tied to named nursing homes. That showed 1,390 resident deaths and 12 staff deaths – higher than the previous state data showed.
This week, another update shows the number of resident deaths from the novel coronavirus is 1,618 – about 60% of the state's overall deaths. Staff deaths remained the same.
About a quarter of those who contract COVID-19 in these facilities has died.
The new report doesn't differentiate between new deaths that happened in the last week versus prior deaths that are just now being submitted.
Attempts to get answers from state agencies were not answered Tuesday.
Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, said the data confirms that nursing homes and long-term care facilities are a hotspot for COVID-19.
“What we did not learn is when these cases or outbreaks happened, or why the governor withheld these numbers for so long. For months during the pandemic, families were unable to make data-driven decisions about their loved ones, and I fear that history could repeat itself as schools contemplate reopening.”
Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said last week that 626 facilities had submitted data and 130 had not.
This week, the number of homes that haven't submitted data is down to 36.
One from northeast Indiana – Auburn Village at 1751 Wesley Road – said it tried to enter data, but a glitch blocked the process.
Kim Stanley, administrator for Auburn Village, said many other homes have struggled with the data system. She said a number of homes experienced same thing.
Auburn Village has had only two positive COVID-19 cases – both of which were in people transferred there after a hospital stay. Both have recovered and are no longer there. One staff member has had a positive test.
Two other facilities that haven't submitted data – Brookdale Fort Wayne and Lamplight Inn of Fort Wayne – didn't return calls seeking comment.
Indiana: 809 new positive cases out of 9,079 tests (8.9% positivity rate), 16 new deaths for a total of 2,725
Allen County: 42 new cases and 2 new deaths
Wells County: 1 new death