Nursing homes and assisted living centers are in the spotlight because of the coronavirus. The elderly population is at highest danger of acquiring the virus. This risk level is increased by the fact that many elderly folks in these facilities have particular health conditions that can weaken their immune systems. These individuals have many of the comorbidities that make the virus more deadly, including heart problems, pulmonary issues, diabetes, infectious complications (bedsores and/or UTIS), and advanced age. These conditions, either alone or in combination, compromise the patient’s immune system; this can make it difficult, if not impossible, to defeat the virus.
The combination of these health factors, with other conditions inside these facilities, increases the risk of infection to residents. These conditions include tight living quarters, exposure to others in confined areas such as activity centers and cafeterias, contact with healthcare providers who may work at other facilities, or even nursing home negligence.
Maryland nursing homes and COVID-19
Maryland has 226 nursing homes across the state that house approximately 100,000 people, per a report from Baltimore Brew. As such, Maryland’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become ground zero for the pandemic. Nearly 60% of Marylanders killed by the coronavirus are residents of long-term care facilities, according to the state’s update of nursing home data.
Pleasant View nursing home in Carroll County, for example, reported its first case of coronavirus on March 26th. Within a week, Baltimore Brew reports, “70 of the 95 residents had tested positive for the virus and five were dead. By last week, the number of deaths had risen to 18. In other words, one in five residents were dead within three weeks.” FutureCare’s Lochearn, a rehabilitation facility in Baltimore, confirmed 129 of its 200 residents, and 41 members of its staff, tested positive for coronavirus as well.
The state of Maryland has set up a coronavirus resource page offering updated information about COVID-19 infections in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and group homes. As of May 11, 2020, the site reported 1,895 confirmed staff cases, 11 staff deaths, 4,323 resident cases, and 792 resident deaths due to the coronavirus. The page also includes a list of all affected facilities and their case infection and death numbers due to the virus.