Coronavirus Deaths at U.S. Nursing Homes Pass 3,800, With 45 at Virginia Facility


The Times has tracked hundreds of clusters of coronavirus cases across the country. The 10 deadliest have been in nursing homes and long-term care centers, including the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., which was linked to at least 43 coronavirus deaths, and the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass., a nursing home for veterans where at least 36 deaths have been linked to the virus. Other long-term care centers in Indiana, Maryland and Massachusetts were each tied to more than 20 coronavirus deaths.

In New York, which has had the heaviest concentration of deaths from the coronavirus, nursing homes have been hit particularly hard, with more than 2,700 deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities — roughly one in four deaths statewide.

Many homes in New York have had to add refrigerator trucks as temporary morgues, or rely on air-conditioners to keep bodies from decaying because the death toll has overwhelmed funeral homes. Families, barred from visiting since March 13, have complained bitterly about a lack of information coming from the facilities as home administrators scramble to keep enough workers on staff. Few had adequate supplies of masks or gowns, or access to testing.

Though the nursing home outbreaks have been far deadlier, there have been larger clusters of cases. More than 500 Navy sailors on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt have been infected in Guam, and more than 500 inmates and guards have been infected at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. Hundreds more cases have been linked to a meatpacking plant in South Dakota and a prison in Michigan.

The facility in Richmond, surrounded by churches, apartments and suburban homes, provides rehabilitation and long-term care in a “modern and tranquil setting,” according to its website. But recently, it has turned into one of the deadliest hot spots for the virus that has killed more than 25,000 people across the country.

The facility has a one-star health inspection rating from Medicare, meaning there are more health risks there than at the average nursing home. In October, during the most recent review, federal inspectors found 23 deficiencies and said that staff members had failed to follow infection-control procedures for at least one resident. The staff corrected the error within days and a new owner took over this year.

Canterbury has better access to protective gear now than it did a month ago, Dr. Wright said, but staff members still do not have enough disposable gowns to put on a new one every time they switch patients. Instead, they have patient-specific gowns that they reuse. About 20 staff members have fallen ill with the virus, he said.



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