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    Gov. Tim Walz announced he’s sending 400 members of the Minnesota National Guard to form skilled-nursing “response teams” to help out in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that are short-staffed amid the current wave of coronavirus infections, reports Fox 9. Sahan Journal has a deep dive on the labor shortage in the health care field. Here’s Hennepin Healthcare talent acquisition director Tony Campisi: It feels worse now than it did during the height of the pandemic. I’ve been in this space for 25 years. I’ve weathered Y2K, the last recession, and this period of time we’re going through right now, I’m worried. The poet Robert Bly has died. Article continues after advertisement It’s not clear what the development taking the place of St. Paul’s Hillcrest Golf Course will be called, other than that it will involve the word “Heights.” Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart won’t seek re-election. A woman from Fridley who was reported missing last week was found dead in Minneapolis. Someone ripped the security cameras off the Dar Al-Qalam Cultural Center in Northeast Minneapolis. A woman...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesota prepares to send National Guard support to long-term care facilities, the state reported 4,718 new COVID-19 cases and 37 more deaths Monday. The Minnesota Health Department’s latest update puts the state’s cumulative number of infected people at 866,287, and 9,192 have died from the virus. There have been 9,630 reinfections. READ MORE: With COVID Cases Surging, Thanksgiving Has Health Care Workers ConcernedThe seven-day rolling average positivity rate is at 10.9%, above the high risk threshold, and the new daily cases per 100,000 residents was last reported at 74. For that metric, the line for high risk is at 10. As of Friday, 330 intensive care unit beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, as well as 1,043 non-ICU beds. READ MORE: Gather Only With Vaccinated Family Members For Holidays, Dr. Osterholm SaysGov. Tim Walz announced Monday 400 National Guard members will train as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides, then be deployed to skilled-nursing facilities around the state. The governor also proposed giving $50 million in federal funding to such facilities for hiring and...
    DENVER (CBS4) – While Colorado health officials are taking every step to avoid reaching the state’s hospital capacity, they are also planning for the chance that it might happen. (credit: CBS) “It’s not going to be the same when we built thousands of beds in their standalone facilities,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a meeting with his expert emergency epidemic response committee. READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Too Early To Switch From Pandemic To EndemicInstead of seeing makeshift hospitals like we did when the pandemic began, long-term care facilities already in operation will be a focus for patients in need of recovery care. “We have identified several facilities with open, or levels that are not be using,” It’s help that is needed now, UCHealth in a statement says, “We have a large number of patients who are healthy enough to be discharged to a long-term care facility. It has been difficult to transfer some of those patients as some of the long-term care facilities and nursing homes may not be able to take additional patients.” ...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Tim Walz announced a new plan to mobilize the national guard to assist at local long-term care facilities and open new rapid testing sites across the state. Guard members will provide staffing support and also be part of a COVID-19 emergency staffing pool, which allows long-term care facilities to request temporary assistance if they are experiencing a shortage. READ MORE: Police Arrest Convicted Felon Roberto Williams In St. Cloud“Rising COVID-19 cases have left our hospitals too crowded, and we need action now,” said Walz. “That’s why I’m putting the National Guard on alert and taking critical steps to help free up hospital beds and make sure that Minnesotans can continue to get the care they need.” The second part of Walz’s plan increases access to rapid tests across the state. Starting next week, guard members will help set up new community testing sites in Stillwater, Hutchinson, and Crookston to offer the rapid antigen test, which allows Minnesotans to receive COVID-19 results in a matter of minutes. Three more sites...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Health care experts are sharing a worrisome outlook on the viability of some long-term care facilities in Minnesota. These facilities were at the center of the COVID-19 crisis. In the beginning, they were caring for Minnesota’s most vulnerable and finding ways to keep patients healthy while dealing with a PPE shortage. READ MORE: $1,000 Bonus For Hired Workers? Twin Cities Businesses Offering New Incentives To Attract New EmployeesNow it’s transitioned into a staffing crisis that has a ripple effect on families. “We have had chronic workforce shortages, but we’ve never had crisis-level shortages, and that’s where we’re at,” said Patti Cullen, CEO of Care Providers of MN. Cullen says there are 23,000 open positions or 20% of the workforce. “Those who are in our buildings are burnt out that are coming into work. We have folks working 100-hour workweeks, lots of doubles, so they’re tired,” said Cullen. It’s resulted in 70% of facilities across the state limiting admissions in some way. That burdens hospitals, with longer patient stays and limits options for families looking to place a loved one...
    The Illinois Department of Public Health was in the hot seat Wednesday during a House committee hearing on nursing home reform. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities house a small part of the U.S. population, but are estimated to account for about 3 in 10 deaths from COVID-19. IDPH reported 46% of all deaths from COVID-19 in Illinois occurred in long-term care facilities. Lawmakers had questions for IDPH representative Becky Dragoo, including the number of deaths in long-term care facilities during the pandemic, and the number of nursing homes that were cited by the state for a lack of protocols. State Rep. Lakeshia Collins, D-Chicago, was not happy that Dragoo did not provide the number of deaths in Illinois nursing homes during the pandemic. “If there’s no numbers that you can present to us when we get on these calls and you have to give us a follow-up, that’s a problem because you know we are going to ask these questions,” Collins said. Collins said she believes a lack of staff is the cause of...
    Nursing assistants in long term care facilities - who work closest with vulnerable residents - are the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 than any other staff position, a new study finds.  An analysis was performed by researchers from the University of Rochester, in New York, and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They found that less than half, only 49.2 percent, of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are vaccinated are fully vaccinated. By comparison, 61 percent of practical nurses, 70.9 percent of therapists and 77.3 percent of physicians who work at U.S. nursing homes are vaccinated. In total, 60 percent of total nursing home staff nationwide has received the shots.  Low vaccination rates among staff that work closely with nursing home residents can be worrisome, as they could spread the virus to the vulnerable people in their care.  Less than half of certified nursing assistants who work at U.S. nursing homes are vaccinated for COVID-19, the lowest of any group of employees, a new study finds  In total, 60% of health care staffers at nursing homes are vaccinated...
    Sign up here to get our updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. In late July, Episcopal Homes, along University Avenue in St. Paul, announced it would require its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Sept. 1. Episcopal Homes was one of the first long-term care communities in Minnesota to make such a requirement. At the time, 80 percent of the facility’s employees in independent living, transitional care, assisted living and two nursing homes were vaccinated, but the growing threat of the more severe and more readily spread delta variant convinced leaders of the facilities to require the vaccinations in an effort to get those numbers closer to 100 percent. As the deadline to get vaccinated draws near at both Episcopal Homes and Eventide Senior Living Communities, a long-term care organization with locations in western Minnesota and North Dakota that’s requiring staff to be vaccinated before Oct. 1 — and as more employers in Minnesota mandate COVID-19 vaccination — MinnPost talked to leaders at both facilities...
    All employees of Connecticut's long-term care facilities are required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 under a new executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont. Lamont announced on Friday, Aug. 6, that the employees will be required to receive at least their first vaccine dose no later than Tuesday, Sept. 7. The types of facilities impacted by this executive order include: Nursing homes Residential care homes Assisted living services agencies (i.e. agencies that provide staff to certain long-term care facilities) Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities Managed residential communities Chronic disease hospitals Facilities that fail to comply with the order will be subject to a $20,000 civil penalty per day, the governor said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in the week from Saturday, July 31 through Friday, Aug. 6, all eight of Connecticut's counties had either substantial or high community transmission of COVID-19.  “Now that vaccines are widely available," Lamont said, "and scientifically proven to be safe and the most effective method for preventing hospitalization and death, it would be absolutely irresponsible for anyone working...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Illinois, the state’s Department of Public Health has now made vaccination data publicly available for residents and staff in long-term care facilities. The data are on the IDPH website. READ MORE: Chicago Weather: A Sunny Start Since long-term care facilities such as nursing homes have seen COVID-19 deaths – particularly early in the pandemic – the department said the resource will be crucial for tracking COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and residents statewide. “To help keep long-term care residents as safe and healthy as possible, we want to make sure residents and their loved ones know the vaccination rates where they reside so they can make the best decision on where to live, and also advocate for increased vaccination rates,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a news release. “Some of our most vulnerable residents live in long-term care facilities and in order to better protect them, COVID-19 vaccination rates in many facilities, especially among staff, need to increase. The vaccine is the primary way to get to the other...
    CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 2,364 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 18 related deaths Wednesday.There have been 1,430,265 total COVID cases, including 23,476 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by countyThe preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from July 27-Aug 3 is at 5.1%.Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 50,096 specimens for a total of 27,056,446 since the pandemic began.As of Tuesday night, 1,165 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 246 patients were in the ICU and 94patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.Gov. Pritzker to announce statewide school mask mandate, following some businesses' example: sourcesA total of 13,336,841 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 28,180. On Tuesday, 26,667 vaccines were administered.IDPH announced Wednesday that vaccination data for residents and staff at long-term care facilities is now available on their website."To help keep long-term care residents as safe and healthy as...
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 is raising new concerns at long-term care facilities. Centers for Disease Control data show nearly 90% of the residents at Minnesota facilities are fully vaccinated. Only 65% of the staff in those places have received their shots. While some facilities are moving toward a vaccine mandate for employees, a St. Paul residence is already a step ahead. READ MORE: More Mask Mandates Reinstated Across Minnesota As Delta Variant Spreads CEO of Episcopal Homes of MN Marvin Plakut said the long-term care facility is the first in the state to require COVID vaccinations for all employees. “With this very contagious delta variant, we’re getting worried,” said Plakut. “We’re working with and supporting elderly and those with preexisting conditions. That’s exactly the population that is the most vulnerable to the negative effects of COVID-19. We feel we have a moral responsibility to require vaccine for all staff that work here.” Episcopal Homes of MN (credit: CBS) Plakut said there are nearly 600 staff at Episcopal Homes and about 80% of...
    Healthcare workers in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are not vaccinated to the same degree as the seniors they take care of - and the workers most likely to interact with residents are the least likely to have gotten their shots. Just 46 percent of aides in these facilities are vaccinated compared to 75 percent of physicians, according to a  new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Staff working at facilities in areas with higher poverty, lower education, and other socioeconomic vulnerabilities are also less likely to be vaccinated, the report found. Researchers say that additional outreach is needed to build trust with these healthcare workers and promote vaccination - for the protection of vulnerable patients. Vaccine mandates in these facilities, like those recently introduced for government workers across the country, may be another option to protect staffers and patients. While 75 percent of physicians working in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated, the number is only 46 percent for aides, according to a CDC analysis The long-term care facility workers who...
                      by Nyamekye Daniel  The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on Georgia’s long-term care facilities, officials said. Devon Barill, communications director for the Georgia Health Care Association and Georgia Center for Assisted Living (GHCA/GCAL), said the facilities have faced increased expenses and revenue losses from caring for the state’s most vulnerable population. While COVID-19 can lead to severe complications in older people and those with underlying issues, the congregated facilities are often home to the elderly and people who require supportive care. Barill said not only did nursing homes spend more money caring for residents during the outbreak that required more medical supplies and personal protective equipment, facilities also lost revenue because of capacity limits. The centers now are facing staffing shortages. “While centers have historically experienced workforce shortages, these shortages have become greatly exacerbated due to the pandemic, and centers are incurring increased costs associated with recruiting and retaining an adequate workforce,” Barill said in a statement. The American Rescue Plan Act included $450 million in federal aid...
    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State auditors will review the accuracy of the number of coronavirus deaths linked to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Michigan. Auditor General Doug Ringler agreed last week to conduct a comprehensive study at the request of House Oversight Committee Chairman Steven Johnson of Wayland. Johnson is among Republican lawmakers who have questioned if there is an undercount and who have criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for allowing hospitalized COVID-19 patients no longer needing acute care, but still in quarantine, to return to designated units in nursing homes as some hospitals faced surging cases. READ MORE: Body Of Diver Inspecting Dam Found In Southwestern Michigan There is no direct evidence the policy led to infections. The governor has said it complied with federal guidance, and the state health director has said nursing homes are accurately reporting the tally of virus-related deaths. In a letter to Johnson, Ringler — whom legislators appointed to an eight-year term in 2014 — estimated the inquiry could be completed by late September or mid-October. READ MORE: City Of Detroit...
    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on Georgia's long-term care facilities, officials said. Devon Barill, communications director for the Georgia Health Care Association and Georgia Center for Assisted Living (GHCA/GCAL), said the facilities have faced increased expenses and revenue losses from caring for the state's most vulnerable population. While COVID-19 can lead to severe complications in older people and those with underlying issues, the congregated facilities are often home to the elderly and people who require supportive care. Barill said not only did nursing homes spend more money caring for residents during the outbreak that required more medical supplies and personal protective equipment, facilities also lost revenue because of capacity limits. The centers now are facing staffing shortages. "While centers have historically experienced workforce shortages, these shortages have become greatly exacerbated due to the pandemic, and centers are incurring increased costs associated with recruiting and retaining an adequate workforce," Barill said in a statement. The American Rescue Plan Act included $450 million in federal aid for nursing homes nationally. Gov. Brian Kemp provided $113 million from the state's allocation...
    The Michigan House Oversight Committee formally asked the state auditor general to investigate how Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) administration accounted for coronavirus-related nursing home deaths. At a hearing last week, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel told the committee that deaths “could be” undercounted. “We do not know because we don’t know what’s occurring in those facilities,” she told the committee chairman, State Rep. Steve Johnson (R). As the hearing concluded, Johnson said he would consider asking the Michigan auditor general to look into the data. On Thursday, Johnson sent a letter to the Office of the Auditor General asking it to “perform a review to provide a comprehensive study or reported and unreported deaths in long-term care facilities in Michigan.” Specifically, the letter is asking the auditor general, Doug A. Ringler, for: a review of the DHHS processes and procedures for obtaining death reports from long-term care facilities a review of the vital records reports that DHHS at one time cross-checked with long-term care facility records a comprehensive review of all death records to...
    Vaccine hesitancy among long-term care staff remains a complex issue that goes beyond “selfishness,” the Pennsylvania Health Care Association said Thursday. “Two weeks ago, there were headlines that painted a picture of selfish, uninformed workers who refused to take the vaccine,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of PHCA. “It’s not that simple.” The association, which represents more than 400 long-term care and senior service providers that treat 50,000 elderly and disabled residents, said an internal survey revealed that 63% of workers had been immunized since late December. A day later, the Department of Health released the results of its own survey that placed this figure closer to 55%. Shamberg said reporting errors explain the discrepancies in the department’s data, but the conclusion remains the same. “It’s become abundantly clear that we are not seeing 100% vaccination rates among workers and residents, and we may never see that,” he said. “[But] we should not cast immediate judgment.” The association said its internal survey revealed many reasons why workers may have refused the vaccine, so far. Many were waiting...
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Recent studies from UPMC on vulnerable populations’ response to COVID-19 vaccines have led to new insights on the fight against the pandemic. READ MORE: UPMC: Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Reduces Risk Of Hospitalizations, Deaths In COVID-19 Patients By 70% One study focused on long-term care residents’ antibody response after having been fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh tested blood from 70 UPMC Senior Community residents who volunteered for the study. All residents were found to have detectible antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, though these levels did vary among those individuals, according to UPMC. While this does not mean that these individuals are invulnerable against COVID-19, UPMC says that, with mass vaccination, long-term care facilities can reopen with multiple safety measures in place, including social distancing, mask wearing and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. “If we had looked and seen over half of these residents did not have antibodies, it would have said we would really need to be much more conservative in our approach,”...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA) – When it comes to states with the oldest populations, Pennsylvania ranks third. As we prepare to leave phase 1A in the rearview mirror, some personal care homes say, “hold up.” KDKA’s Meghan Schiller visited one facility in Elizabeth that reached out for help in vaccinating new residents and staff. READ MORE: Fort Ligonier Reopening 7 Days A Week Is Light At The End Of The Tunnel For People In Latrobe The people at Grandview Estates say they feel there’s been a breakdown in the system. They want to know who can help them vaccinate new residents and staff. The federal pharmacy partnership already left town and there’s no nearby pharmacy that will agree to come inside. Take a walk down the hall of Grandview Estate and you’ll finally see smiles again, but behind closed doors, two women spend hours on the phone. “I have been trying for weeks to get number one, the second vaccine for the two residents that had it, and then our new residents,” said Director of Operations Jeannette Swaney. “What happens is the...
    Oregon public agencies were not equipped to respond to a pandemic that overwhelmed the state's understaffed long-term care facilities, state officials report. The report, released on Wednesday, concerned the 685 long-term care facilities around the state and was conducted by the Oregon secretary of state's audit division. It is not considered an audit under government auditing standards, its authors noted, despite going through the same quality assurance process. According to the report, poor planning and disagreement on the part of the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Human Services early in the pandemic put some 31,581 adult care facility patients at risk. The two agencies wasted “valuable time” in the first few months after Oregon’s first case as they tried to figure out how to work together, state officials wrote. "Delayed actions around outbreaks in long-term care facilities was due, in part, to a lack of prior planning for a joint ODHS/OHA response, and state regulations for emergency preparedness in community-based care facilities are lacking compared to federal regulations for nursing facilities," the...
    (CNN)In early April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program that delivered Covid-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities should be complete. With cases dropping faster than among the general public, the CDC calls the program a real success, but advocates are concerned about what happens when it ends. New AstraZeneca report says vaccine was 76% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptomsAs of Tuesday, more than 43% of Americans 65 and older are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the CDC. But that leaves more than half, 57%, unprotected. Advocates are worried about current and future residents in these programs. There are also pockets of the elderly population who were missed by vaccination programs; there are just as many homebound adults as nursing home residents, but the federal government's nursing home vaccination campaign did not reach them. In a letter this month, several groups asked the Biden administration to continue to make the elderly a vaccination priority, and they say they've been in conversation with White House officials since.Read More"We are really in need of a follow up pathway to...
    MADISON, Wis. (CBS/AP) — A trip to the dental chair in Wisconsin could now also mean a shot in the arm for the COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill allowing dentists to administer the vaccinations. READ MORE: Illinis Kofi Cockburn Exposes Racist Social Media Comment He Received After NCAA Tournament Loss The new law Evers signed allows dentists who complete eight hours of training on vaccine protocols and record keeping to administer shots . dentists in neighboring Minnesota and Illinois are already permitted to give the vaccine. Dentists could also administer the flu shot. About 3,500 dentists in Wisconsin could be enlisted to help vaccinate. Expanding who can vaccinate people came the same day that population of those eligible expanded by more than 2 million people to include those between age 16 and 64 with a wide array of preexisting conditions. Qualifying conditions include moderate to severe asthma; cancer; diabetes; high blood pressure, Down syndrome; and being overweight with a body mass index of 25 or above. Women who are pregnant are also...
    TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The State of New Jersey is urging long-term care facilities to allow in-person visits to match with new federal guidance. In areas where COVID-19 activities are high, Gov. Phil Murphy said vaccinated residents should be able to receive visitors. The Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman is offering to help solve “unwarranted roadblocks,” Gov. Murphy said. READ MORE: Air Travel Picking Up As TSA Reports Pandemic-Era Record Number Of Screenings “Visitation options for essential caregivers, compassionate care and outdoor visits will continue to be available,” Murphy said. In all cases, everyone – residents and visitors – must properly wear facemasks. READ MORE: Pickup Hits Disabled Car On New Jersey Turnpike; 1 Killed, 2 Injured, State Police Say If you encounter difficulty with visitations, contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman: 877-582-6995 or https://t.co/bGnNGXW8Sv pic.twitter.com/3UgrCubuie — Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 22, 2021 MORE NEWS: Pennsylvania Eases Mask Mandate For Vaccinated People Stay with CBSPhilly.com for updates to this developing story.
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Impatient families got the update they were waiting for Wednesday when the Minnesota Department of Health put out new visitation guidance for long-term care facilities. More than 1.3 million Minnesotans have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and nearly 790,000 have been fully vaccinated. READ MORE: Police Investigate Suspicious Fire Caught On Video In New Brighton Fully vaccinated residents can gather with other vaccinated people, and also have close contact with unvaccinated visitors as long as the visitors are from a single household and low risk. State Senator Karin Housley is the chair of the senate’s Aging and Long Term Care Committee. “What our seniors have been through, I just feel for them, so that there’s light at the end of this tunnel is so wonderful for everybody,” said Housley. It’s still on facilities to update their own visitation policies, something that Housley says hasn’t happened uniformly across the board. READ MORE: Neighbors In Forest Lake Townhome Complex Save Two Girls From Fire “The facilities are a little skittish on being the first one out of...
    Wisconsin health officials reclassified nearly 1,000 COVID-19 fatalities, tying them to long-term care facilities after previously reporting the deaths occurred in "unknown" housing settings. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services adjusted the data in the past two weeks and now reports 45% of COVID-19 deaths happened in long-term care facilities after the state previously linked 26% to 30% of total virus fatalities to these Wisconsin facilities, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The early percentages ranked lower compared to neighboring states and have raised questions among Republicans in the state and health experts about the accuracy of Wisconsin's data on long-term care deaths. According to Gov. Tony Evers's administration, the change in data reports is part of a typical process of updating state health data regarding coronavirus fatalities. Additionally, Wisconsin has a decentralized system collecting data from local health departments. WISCONSIN LAWMAKERS SCUTTLE GOV. EVERS' BUILDING PLAN "The Evers administration severely undercounted COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities, making their response to COVID-19 appear much better than it was," a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin told the Washington...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA/AP) – The Wolf administration on Friday strongly encouraged long-term care facilities to update their visitation guidance to allow for hugs. The federal government said Wednesday that nursing home residents vaccinated against COVID-19 can get hugs again from their loved ones, and all residents may enjoy more indoor visits in a step toward pre-pandemic normalcy. READ MORE: Allegheny Health Networks Holds Mass COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic At Dicks Sporting Goods Headquarters “We understand how difficult this past year has been on families and nursing home residents,” Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said in a press release. “This newly updated guidance is an important step as we continue to care for and protect the physical and mental health of our most vulnerable residents. All Pennsylvania nursing homes should implement this guidance immediately.” The policy guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, comes as coronavirus cases and deaths among nursing home residents have plummeted in recent weeks at the same time that vaccination accelerated. People living in long-term care facilities have borne a cruel toll from the pandemic....
    For nearly a year, nursing homes and assisted living centers have been mostly closed to visitors. Now, it’s time for them to open back up and relieve residents of crushing isolation, according to a growing chorus of long-term care experts, caregivers, consumer groups and physicians. They’re calling for federal health authorities to relax visitation restrictions in long-term care institutions, replacing guidance that’s been in place since September. And they want both federal and state authorities to grant special status to “essential caregivers” — family members or friends who provide critically important hands-on care — so they have the opportunity to tend to relatives in need. Richard Fornili, 84, who lives in a nursing home in St. Marys, Georgia, supports a change in policies. He hasn’t seen any family members since last summer, when a granddaughter, her husband and her two children stood outside his window and called him on the phone. “The depression and sense of aloneness affecting my fellow residents, it’s terrible,” he said. “Having our relatives come back in to see us, it’s an absolute necessity for our...
    LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey families who have relatives in long-term care facilities have a chilling plea. With vaccinations underway, they’re asking the governor to loosen visitation restrictions for fear isolation will kill their loved ones before COVID does. READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New York: Yankee Stadium Vaccination Site Now Open 24 Hours Hundreds of signs that read “Isolation kills, too” fill Jill Cohen’s Livingston lawn. She says in the last year since lockdown began, she’s watched her 82-year-old mom, Norma, who has Alzheimer’s, suffer cognitively and physically. Once a week, Cohen is allowed to visit her mother for two hours, most of the time consoling her. “And you know I’ll always be with you, right? Every step of the way,” she tells her mom in a video. “We’ve been vaccinated. They’ve been vaccinated. It’s been one year, two shots. And now what? What are we gonna do now? We don’t have time on our side anymore,” Cohen told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC Ask CBS2’s Dr. Max Your Vaccine Questions COVID Vaccine FAQ From CDC Vaccination...
    Ottowa (CNN)The harrowing details of how so many Canadian seniors were left neglected and alone in long term care homes during the pandemic are an agony to accept, let alone, to share. But families say if they're silent now, they too, would be complicit in what they consider to be cruel and preventable deaths."No one was there to comfort her, to explain to her, that was the most heartbreaking for me. And she really felt abandoned, that's for sure," says Nicole Jaouich as she describes her mother's last days in a care home in Quebec.Her mother, Hilda Zlataroff, was 102 years old and suffering from dementia when Covid-19 was first detected in her long-term care facility in March of last year. Nicole Jaouich, right, and her mother Hilda Zlataroff celebrate Zlataroff's 100th birthday.Her family says she did not die of the virus but, as an in-room camera placed there by her family painfully documents, she wasted away.Zlataroff was unable to feed herself without assistance and the video, provided to CNN by her family, shows her at times seemingly in pain,...
    Sign up here to get our daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. Just after Christmas, residents of the Gardens, an Episcopal Homes nursing home in St. Paul, were among the first Minnesotans to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. It’s been a tough year for residents, said site administrator Keanan Franco. Indoor visits from family and friends had mostly been off-limits, except for abut a week in September when cases in the facility and surrounding community were low enough to allow them. With the opportunity to be vaccinated, there was much excitement among both residents and staff at the prospect of things getting back to something like normal. Now, two months into the state’s vaccination drive, there’s evidence that the shots are working to reduce cases in senior residences like the Gardens. That comes as a relief to residents, many of whom have had limited in-person contact with family and friends for nearly a year. Article continues after advertisement “We just started doing...
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Department of Health announced Wednesday that it will soon lift its state-specific visitation restrictions for long-term care facilities. According to a news release, nursing homes and other facilities should use the federal guidance provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services starting Feb. 28. The agency says all of Tennessee's nursing homes and skilled nursing home facilities have finished giving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccinations, and the state's assisted care living facilities and residential homes for the aged are expected to be fully immunized by the end of the week. “Now that vaccinations at all long-term care facilities are nearing completion, we are ready to transition to a more sustainable approach of following these best practices for safe operation of long-term care facilities in Tennessee,” Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a statement. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: Tennessee, Associated Press
    By RANDALL CHASE, Associated Press DOVER, Del. (AP) — Many workers in Delaware’s long-term care facilities remain hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even though the facilities represent the single deadliest environment for coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, state officials were reporting 695 COVID-related deaths among residents of long-term facilities, roughly half the state total, even though they account for less than 3% of the positive cases. The head of the state Division of Health Care Quality, which oversees long-term care facilities, told members of the legislature’s budget writing committee on Wednesday that thousands of residents and staff have received the COVID vaccine, but she acknowledged that there remains a reluctance among industry staff to get the vaccine. “We’re trying different methods to increase the staff’s consent for the vaccine,” said Corinna Getchell. “We are aware that there are still people out there, but we are actively working on that.” But Getchell noted that the state has not required workers at long-term care facilities to be vaccinated, and that “persuasion,” in the words of one lawmaker, is left up to...
    The sister-in-law of Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean has slammed New York Governor Cuomo over his handling of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes.  She has accused the governor of saying 'ridiculous things' in an attempt to brush over the deaths and not using the resources made available to him. Donna Johnson, who lost both her parents last year after they contracted COVID-19 while in long-term care facilities, claims that she witnessed nurses in her dad's care home wearing garbage bags and says that the last thing her mother said to her was, 'Donna I'm scared'. 'I'd like to ask Governor Cuomo how would he feel if he had to live every day with the last words from his mother, "Andrew, I'm scared",' she said to Fox News' Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday. It comes as a new poll reveals that 41 percent of New Yorkers believe Cuomo has done something unethical—but not illegal—in his handling of the data regarding the deaths in the state's nursing homes. Only 27 percent believe that Cuomo is not guilty of any wrongdoing, according...
    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and health officials are will provide an update on COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Pennsylvania, focusing on the progress in skilled nursing facilities, assisted care facilities and long-term care facilities. The press conference will be held at 2 p.m. You can watch it the CBSN Player above or on your streaming devices. What: Wolf administration to provide an update on vaccinations in long-term care facilities Who: Govenor Tom Wolf, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam, Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response Lindsey Mauldin and CVS Health District Leader Andreas Chandra When: Tuesday, Feb. 23 Time: 2 p.m. Where: In the player above or on CBSN Philly
    OAKLAND — In response to a judge’s order, Alameda County has released records showing that at least 436 people in the county’s long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19 and at least 625 have been hospitalized. Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo last month ordered that information to be released to this news organization after the county refused its request for the data under the California Public Records Act. Records turned over by the county this week are even more comprehensive than what the state has published so far. The records show exactly how many people have been infected with COVID-19 and how many died at all long-term care facilities. Data from the state and other counties, on the other hand, don’t show specific numbers of deaths or infections at an institution unless at least 11 people there were affected. According to Alameda County’s records, at least 6,870 people in the county’s facilities have contracted the disease — 3,843 residents and 3,027 staff members. Among the hardest hit facilities were Crown Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Alameda, where 118 people...
    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions at some of its long-term care facilities. Indoor visitation will resume at non-Medicare-certified facilities that have been through the COVID-19 vaccination process, Gov. Andy Beshear said. Group activities, communal dining and visitations among vaccinated residents will resume, he said. Included in the updated protocols are assisted living facilities, personal care homes, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and independent living centers, Beshear said. “It’s been a long journey and it’s exciting to be able to relax some restrictions,” said state Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspector general Adam Mather. People will be expected to schedule their visits with the facility, and up to two visitors from the same household can visit a resident at one time, state officials said. Visitors will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the visit. The new protocols will take effect Saturday. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: Kentucky, Associated Press
    GARDNER (CBS) – Long-term care facilities are continuing to see positive COVID-19 cases. The family of one resident living at Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center tells the WBZ I-Team that the start of the year has been tough. READ MORE: Massachusetts COVID Vaccine Appointment Website Crashes; Furious Baker Vows Its Going To Get Fixed “It was just boom, 58 out of 81 residents by the end of January had COVID, and six had died,” said one woman who didn’t want her identity revealed. “And that’s with the vaccine.” A majority of residents at the Gardner home got the first Pfizer shot in December, and the second three weeks later. But that didn’t stop a COVID-19 outbreak. “Just because you got your COVID vaccine is not a guarantee that you are going to be completely protected,” said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. That may be especially true for elderly residents in long-term care facilities, where concerns about loved ones is increasing. “My parent is 92 years old. We were relieved...
    Tuesday, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci declined to comment on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) mishandling of the coronavirus in his state. Cuomo has caught flack from both Democrats and Republicans for his executive order to move patients sick with COVID-19 to nursing homes — putting them close to those more vulnerable to the virus’ effects — and the ensuing cover-up. “CNN Newsroom” host Jim Sciutto asked Fauci, “You’re a New Yorker yourself, though you don’t live there right now. Andrew Cuomo is coming under criticism now for the big move back to long-term care facilities in the midst of this crisis here. He’s argued that his state was following federal guidelines when he ordered those long-term care facilities to accept patients returning from hospitals. I wonder, can you clear that up. Was he actually following federal guidelines to do that?” “You know, Jim, I can’t,” Fauci replied. “I mean, I’m sorry. I’m really — I’m honestly not trying to evade your question, but I’m not really sure of all the details of that, and I think if...
    Long-term care facilities said Thursday that Pennsylvania's distribution of COVID-19 vaccines snubs them, despite their priority status. “Pennsylvania has allocated less than 20 percent of its vaccine supply to long-term care facilities,” said Zach Shamberg, CEO and President of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “This is both shocking and insulting.” The federal government rolled out its national pharmacy partnership to inoculate staff and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities on Dec. 28. In response to Shamberg’s comments, Gov. Tom Wolf said 70 percent of those eligible for vaccination in that group have received their first dose, so far, leading him to question the association’s data. “Are there things we could do to do a better job communicating with everyone in the state? Yes,” he said. “I think the results have been pretty good so far.” Shamberg’s comments come as broader complaints about the state’s slow pace of immunization pressure public officials to fix the problem – though it's unclear how that would be accomplished, until supply better matches demand. Pennsylvania receives about 300,000 doses...
    (CNN)New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aide apologized to Democratic lawmakers Wednesday for putting them in a tough spot over long-awaited data which revealed thousands more confirmed and presumed Covid-19 deaths of long-term care facility residents than previously disclosed, according to a source who participated in the call.The apology follows the release of a report in late January from state Attorney General Letitia James, noting the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) undercounted Covid-19 deaths among residents of nursing homes by approximately 50%.New York State Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, attorney generals report says Secretary to Gov. Cuomo Melissa DeRosa told the lawmakers in a private virtual meeting that the state had been concerned about a Department of Justice preliminary inquiry into Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes, as well as attention from former President Donald Trump, who was tweeting about Cuomo and other Democratic governors' handling of the nursing homes, the source who participated in the call told CNN. Outstanding inquiries from state lawmakers were also addressed on the call, the source said,...
    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers moved forward Thursday with a proposal to change visitation restrictions at the state’s health and residential care sites amid concerns about residents’ declining interactions with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. The measure approved by the Indiana Senate would require health facilities to allow at least one caretaker to visit a resident during compassionate care situations. Those include if the resident is dying, grieving a recent death, experiencing emotional distress or needing encouragement to eat or drink. Under the bill, long-term care facilities would also be required to participate in the state health department’s Essential Family Caregivers Program during a declared emergency, a public health emergency, or similar crisis. That program further designates at least two caregivers who can enter facilities and provide residents with support like meal set up, grooming and general companionship, even during periods of restricted visitation. While some facilities in Indiana currently participate in the program, not all do. Bill author Republican Sen. Linda Rogers said the plan is critical to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of those in long-term...
    More than 1,500 more elderly residents of New York State adult-care facilities died from COVID-19 than health officials previously reported, a new report reveals. The number, accounting for an eight-fold leap over the 219 deaths reported earlier from the facilities, comes after state officials adjusted the figures to reflect adult-care patients who died in hospitals rather than the centers themselves, the Empire Center for Public Policy said Sunday. The revelation also comes one day after state health officials also quietly updated their statistics for nursing home deaths from the pandemic to reflect an additional 4,067 patients who died in hospitals. Unlike nursing homes, adult-care and assisted-living facilities do not typically have medical staff on-site, and residents who require medical care are routinely sent to hospitals. The combined updates from both nursing homes and other elderly care facilities brings the state toll for long-term facilities to nearly 15,000. But the Empire Center — which won a legal battle to get the state to reveal all long-term care deaths — said it still wants more data, like death counts for...
    By JAY REEVES, Associated Press BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Coronavirus cases have dropped at U.S. nursing homes and other long-term care facilities over the past few weeks, offering a glimmer of hope that health officials attribute to the start of vaccinations, an easing of the post-holiday surge and better prevention, among other reasons. More than 153,000 residents of the country's nursing homes and assisted living centers have died of COVID-19, accounting for 36% of the U.S. pandemic death toll, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Many of the roughly 2 million people who live at such facilities remain cut off from loved ones because of the risk of infection. The virus still kills thousands of them weekly. The overall trend for long-term care residents is improving, though, with fewer new cases recorded and fewer facilities reporting outbreaks. Coupled with better figures for the country overall, it's cause for optimism even if it's too early to declare victory. “We definitely think there’s hope and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Marty Wright, who heads a nursing home trade...
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Coronavirus cases have dropped at U.S. nursing homes and other long-term care facilities over the past few weeks, offering a glimmer of hope that health officials attribute to the start of vaccinations, an easing of the post-holiday surge and better prevention, among other reasons. More than 153,000 residents of the country’s nursing homes and assisted living centers have died of COVID-19, accounting for 36% of the U.S. pandemic death toll, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Many of the roughly 2 million people who live at such facilities remain cut off from loved ones because of the risk of infection. The virus still kills thousands of them weekly. The overall trend for long-term care residents is improving, though, with fewer new cases recorded and fewer facilities reporting outbreaks. Coupled with better figures for the country overall, it’s cause for optimism even if it’s too early to declare victory. “We definitely think there’s hope and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Marty Wright, who heads a nursing home trade group in West Virginia. Nursing...
    By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press The long-term care industry is calling on Pennsylvania to devote more of the state’s share of COVID-19 vaccine to nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living facilities, saying the Wolf administration isn’t moving quickly enough to vaccinate the state’s most vulnerable residents. Appearing at a state Senate hearing Thursday, industry representatives said the Health Department is directing less than 20% of the state’s weekly allotment to facilities that care for older adults, forcing many desperate residents to wait weeks or months for the vaccine. Residents of long-term care facilities — along with health care workers — are supposed to be at the front of the line to get vaccinated, but the state projects it could be mid-April before that mission is complete. Elder-care executives said that's not good enough, noting that people who live in congregate care settings have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. “We live in fear every day, because every day has the potential of being another outbreak. The vaccine is our hope,” said Suzanne Owens, president and CEO of...
    Many nursing home staff members around the country have declined the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Researchers with the CDC looked at more than 11,00 skilled nursing facilities that held at least one vaccination clinic between mid-December and mid-January, finding that nearly 78% of residents at these facilities received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But among staff members, estimates plummeted to 37.5%.  "The program achieved moderately high coverage among residents; however, continued development and implementation of focused communication and outreach strategies are needed to improve vaccination coverage among staff members in [skilled nursing facilities] and other long-term care settings," the researchers wrote in the report.  "The lower percentage of staff members vaccinated raises concern about low coverage among a population at high risk for occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2," they added.  CDC COULD POSSIBLY RECOMMEND DOUBLE MASK USE, FAUCI SAYS The findings provide evidence for a problem that's largely been reported anecdotally up until this point.  Data previously showed that people who work in...
    DENVER (CBS4)– Hundreds of long-term care facilities in Colorado are in danger of closing after the pandemic has taken its toll. Now, part of the proposed budget for the state could make their situation even worse. (credit: CBS) Janet Snipes says there is no profession that has suffered more since COVID hit, and been prioritized less than nursing homes. “It was the most emotionally traumatic time in my entire life,” said Snipes. The Executive Director of Holly Heights Nursing Center in Denver says the emotional toll of the virus has been immense, “Our staff are very afraid to work, we had residents who are passing away.” But, Snipes says the financial toll of the virus has also been devastating. “I can go on and on in all of the costs we have experienced.” Like most nursing homes, Holly Heights has fewer residents than it did before COVID but, Snipes says, reduced occupancy does not mean reduced costs. “There’s a lot of increased care needs with COVID.” (credit: CBS) In just the first few weeks of the pandemic, she says the...