Louisiana’s COVID-19 spike leaks into nursing homes; how facilities plan to keep up with testing

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Younger adults may be at the center of Louisiana’s latest COVID-19 spike, but the state’s nursing homes remain on the radar as well.

The Louisiana Department of Health’s latest numbers show nursing homes experiencing their biggest case climb since April, reporting 598 cases between July 16 and July 22.

Nursing homes account for less than 10 percent of Louisiana’s total known cases. But roughly 40 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths have been of nursing home residents.

State health officials remain hopeful that increased testing capabilities will lead to fewer new cases at long-term care facilities moving forward. In the coming weeks, the federal government plans to to equip nursing homes with more weekly tests for staff — and residents, as needed.

“Weekly testing is an invaluable tool in helping skilled nursing facilities manage this pandemic,” Louisiana Nursing Home Association executive director Mark Berger said. “It is critical to continue to be vigilant and test all residents and staff to prevent the spread of infection.”

As of June 24, a state health spokesperson said all of Louisiana’s nursing home residents have been tested, as have 98 percent of staff. Since facilities are in charge of their own reporting, it’s unclear how many newly reported cases are active and which infections have passed.

LDH will likely update its number of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes.

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