State Health Officials Will Not Release Virus Numbers For Each Long-Term Care Facility

(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana’s Health Commissioner Dr. Kritina Box said Tuesday she’s not releasing long-term health care facilities’ COVID-19 cases and deaths by facility.

She did say she wants to hear from families who are not getting that information from the places where their loved ones are living or residing.

Dr. Box reported the state has 199 facilities with 1,568 cases and 162 deaths.

Governor Holcomb provides updates in the fight against #COVID19.

Governor Holcomb provides updates in the fight against #COVID19.

Posted by Governor Eric Holcomb on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“So, again I will say that the families of these individuals that live in or reside in these residential facilities or these nursing homes are to be notified by the nursing home, and the recent CMS (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) regulations, so Medicare and Medicaid regulations, are requiring them to notify families of any positive cases and update them on additional positive cases and to update them on any deaths that occur in those facilities. So, that’s where we’re going to leave that at this point.”

The state is collecting the information from each facility, Box said, but she said families with loved ones in facilities should be receiving that information from those facilities.

“So, we do collect detailed information, and all of those cases in long-term-case facilities are reportable to us, as are any deaths, and we are engaged with everyone who reports an individual who is ill or sick in their long-term care facility. My department of regulatory division actually oversees long-term care facilities and residential facilities, and especially with the new CMS regulations in place, if that is not happening and families are not being notified and they’re not being updated and they don’t answer the phone and they don’t give you feedback, then that is something that can be reported to us and we can look into that, and definitely will look into that.”

The initial tracing of coronavirus showed it was passed among people at large gatherings such as weddings, funerals, international conferences, and conventions, Box said, but now health care settings are among the places seeing virus transmission.

“Now, that situation appears to be more oftentimes in a health care setting. It may be someone that has, as you know, works outside, or goes outside and then comes back and works in a long-term care facility,  works in a prison, works in a jail,” she added.

She also said spread can occur in public transportation and grocery stores. She said she has seen cases in grocery stores where people have become infected.