May 14, 2020
The California Department of Social Services released information about cases and deaths at eldercare facilities. The data reveals that at least 41% of all known COVID-19 deaths (as of April) in California occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Since then, the number of nursing home deaths jumped 51% in eight days from April 23 to May 1, and deaths in assisted living facilities nearly doubled between April 20 and May 3.
On Thursday, April 28, California officials released for the first time numbers about deaths at nursing homes from COVID-19. The spokesperson indicated that at least 578 nursing home residents in California have died of complications caused by the virus and added that the numbers could be higher because the current ones only include those “known by the facility” and might not include deaths that occurred after a resident was transferred to a hospital or private home.
COVID19 deaths in California
By Friday, at least 144 residents and fewer than 11 assisted living facilities employees in California had died of COVID-19 complications since the data was released on Thursday. The state did not provide a precise number of employee deaths, saying only that the number was less than 11. The state also is not yet providing the number of fatalities linked to specific facilities.
“Our number one focus is the protection of our residents and staff, we need personal protective equipment and prioritized testing to fight COVID-19 in our facilities.” said Deborah Pacyna, spokeswoman for the California Association of Health Facilities, which represents the majority of nursing homes in the state. She also said that a lack of timely COVID-19 tests for nursing home residents and workers is making it difficult to detect case clusters and outbreaks.
To date, slightly more than 2.000 Californians have died from COVID-19, but the dramatic death numbers for long-term care facilities puts California’s eldercare facilities as the deadliest places to live. But, as the cases and deaths mount, the state continues to press for placing more Coronavirus patients in the facilities, while hiding data about individual facilities from families and the public.
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