About 72 percent of COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire linked to nursing homes

By Joe Chen | The Center Square

A recent analysis by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity found that approximately 72 percent of COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, based on data reported by May 12.

“This virus is insidious,” Brendan Williams, president and CEO of New Hampshire Health Care Association, told The Center Square. “Prior to the pandemic, New Hampshire nursing homes had the nation’s best rate of ‘substantial compliance’ with federal health survey standards.”

Williams said one factor that may have contributed to the disheartening statistic was the lack of appropriate hospital discharge requirements.

“There was no requirement for hospital discharges to be tested for COVID-19, prior to transfer to a nursing home, despite very early calls by nursing home advocates, including the American Health Care Association, for such a requirement,” Williams said. “In New Hampshire, that requirement now exists.”

Williams said measures such as on-demand testing are necessary to flatten the curve.

“Personally I wouldn’t rest until there was a mobile testing lab set up in every nursing home parking lot,” Williams said. “The virus gets in through asymptomatic staff who pass the temporal thermometer screening and health questions upon entry as they manifest no symptoms.”

Williams said nursing homes are also lacking personal protective equipment.

“Disposable isolation gowns once 25 cents apiece can sell for us as much as $6 each now, assuming you can get them past either the Chinese government or U.S. customs,” Williams said

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services