Nearly 100 coronavirus deaths of those living at Indiana’s long-term care centers have been added to the state death toll in the past week, health officials said Monday.
Those additional deaths mean at least 260 residents from 85 nursing homes or assisted living facilities have died with COVID-19 illnesses. Those represent nearly one-third of Indiana’s 844 recorded deaths and a jump from about one-quarter of the state’s deaths a week ago.
Almost 72% of Indiana’s deaths have been among people ages 70 and older as elderly people and those with serious health troubles living in nursing homes are among the most at-risk from COVID-19 infections.
State officials had earlier this month identified some nursing homes with multiple deaths, including an Anderson facility where the county health department has reported 30 fatalities.
But Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials have since stopped identifying nursing homes with outbreaks, despite complaints from relatives of home residents about a lack of communication about illnesses and deaths. State officials maintain those facilities face federal and state requirements to notify the families about their COVID-19 status.
“We believe it is the individual facilities that are best positioned to know what is going on in their location and communicate that to residents and their loved ones,” said Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer of the state Family and Social Services Administration.