WASHINGTON — There are now more than 400 long-term care facilities nationwide with residents who are infected with coronavirus cases, an increase of 172 percent from 146 on Monday, March 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Signs from multiple states point to a rapid increase in cases in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
On Friday, a Washington state official told NBC News there were 53 facilities with cases. New Jersey health officials announced Monday they have cases in 70 homes. In New York, it’s 155 according to the state department of health. Los Angeles County’s public health director announced Monday that the county had cases in 11 nursing homes.
Just those four jurisdictions, in other words, which hold one-seventh of the national population, account for nearly reported 300 cases, even though the CDC’s official total of 400-plus is for all 50 states.
And the number of cases in each affected home keeps rising. In Maryland, state officials say one nursing home has more than 60 cases.
While some state and local facilities have provided the number of cases in nursing homes, federal and state officials are tight-lipped about naming the facilities.
A CDC spokesperson declined to name the facilities affected, saying the agency does not collect the names of the facilities with cases. The CDC also did not provide a total number of infected residents in the 400-plus homes.
A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health cited patient confidentiality in saying the agency would not name the 155 facilities statewide.
Reporters in Colorado and Rhode Island have had to submit open records requests to get a list of facilities in the state with ongoing cases.
Nursing homes are required by the federal government to notify a sick resident’s family of an illness. They are not required to provide notification to relatives of other residents who are in the facility, according to the New York State Department of Health.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not respond to a request for comment about notification guidance to facilities.
Some families with loved ones in nursing homes say they have not received timely updates from the facilities themselves.
“I wish I could count on their communication but now I’m going to the news for information rather than the facility,” said Niki Smith, a Nashville resident whose father is in the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, a nursing home where more than 100 cases have been reported.
Smith said she learned of the coronavirus cases when her brother called to say he read about them on Facebook, as first reported by NBC affiliate WSMV.
CareRite, the New Jersey-based company that owns Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
“We’ve encouraged facilities and family members to make sure they have the most updated emergency contact information and we encourage facilities to continue to keep loved ones updated about residents and the entire facility, said a spokesperson for the American Health Care Association, a long-term care industry trade group. “Each facility may have different ways they do that, so we have not given exact direction on how they implement that process.”