Nearly 50 Percent of California Coronavirus Deaths in Nursing Homes

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Data released from the California Departments of Health and Social Services on Friday show that nursing home deaths represent almost half of the coronavirus fatalities in the state.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the development:

There were at least 11,344 confirmed cases among staff and residents at California’s skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities for elderly as of Thursday, according to state data. These cases account for 18.1 percent of the state’s total 62,512 cases.

Meanwhile, 1,276 staff and residents at such facilities have died of the disease, making up 49.4 percent of the state’s 2,585 deaths as of Thursday.

Given those numbers — which the state said are “provisional” — an alarming 11.2 percent of people infected with the coronavirus at a nursing home has died.

The information confirms that elderly people with underlying health conditions — the demographic in nursing homes — and the workers who care for them represent the most vulnerable population during the coronavirus outbreak.

“All data in this chart is provided to offer a snapshot of COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities in California and does not imply wrongdoing on the part of the facility,” state officials said.

Michael Connors of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform said in the Chronicle report that he thinks the death toll is higher than the reported numbers, calling the number of reported deaths “horrific.”

“COVID-19 is like a viral wildfire in nursing homes,” Connors said. “It’s way past time for all public health authorities in California to start treating it that way.”

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