300 More Residents Died in Wisconsin Nursing Homes Than in Previous Month
Between October 12 and November 8, statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that 294 residents in Wisconsin nursing homes had died as a result of COVID-19. In the latest report to the federal government, nearly 300 of the state’s nursing home residents have died from the virus just in the last month. This number is nearly 10 times more deaths than the 28 reported in the previous month.
In addition to those who have died from the virus, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that, according to recent CMS data, an additional 2,130 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed over the last four weeks. That number is also significantly higher than the 387 new cases reported between September 14 to October 11.
Record Spikes of New Cases for Wisconsin
Wisconsin continues to break previous highs for new cases. Over the last seven days, the most recent record has now reached 6,564 new confirmed cases per day. That daily average is reportedly nine times higher than September 1, just weeks ago.
Several nursing homes that have been hardest hit by outbreaks include facilities in Brown, Marinette, Outagamie, Waupaca and other counties in the northeastern part of the state. Other Wisconsin counties with significant outbreaks include nursing homes in Milwaukee, Dodge and Racine counties.
State Senator Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay stated in an earlier Facebook post about northeast Wisconsin’s latest nursing home virus outbreaks, “Nowhere in Wisconsin exists in a bubble. This is a tragic reminder that anyone’s actions may contribute to more spread, more sickness and potentially more deaths.”
Percentage of Resident Deaths in the State
Data reported by CMS shows that residents from Wisconsin’s long-term care facilities only comprise a low percentage of the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state. However, overall, this population makes up a reported 27 percent of the total number of deaths in the state due to the virus.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, CMS data shows that there have been at least 592 nursing home deaths in Wisconsin. However, that number is almost certainly an underreported figure. Some facilities did not report the number of deaths to the federal government that occurred in April, at the onset of the pandemic. Additionally, this number did not include residents at other types of long-term care, such as those in assisted living facilities.
Residents Remain the Most Vulnerable Population
Residents living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have the highest risk for becoming infected with COVID-19. Nursing home and long-term care residents are often elderly, and many also have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable. This risk is only amplified by the fact they spend their days in close proximity to others.
Many residents who became ill with the virus were exposed by staff and other caregivers who were themselves infected with COVID-19 but were asymptomatic. This was the case at many nursing homes, including St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna. By November 8, CMS reported that 10 residents at this facility died from COVID-19, and another 74 tested positive for the virus.
Did Nursing Homes Do Enough to Control the Spread?
Some question whether Wisconsin leadership took sufficient measures quickly enough to control the spread. At long-term care facilities, such as the Woodside Lutheran Home in Green Bay, Administrator Meghan Mehlberg says that although they had the proper protocols in place, the virus was difficult to contain once it was in the facility.
Mehlberg said, “At that point, it’s difficult to gather, is it residents giving it to staff? Is it vice versa? Every week it seemed like we trickled more positives.”
Family members of nursing home residents have also struggled with anger, depression and other emotions, from worrying about whether their loved one will become ill with the virus to concerns for their emotional well-being.
The wife of an Oshkosh nursing home resident says about the ongoing pandemic, “There are days I think this is never going to end. I get depressed. I get angry.”
To help control the spread of the virus, Federal regulators now have a new requirement for nursing homes that have reported a positive case of the virus. Weekly tests must be done for all residents and staff until the facility goes two weeks without a new COVID-19 case.
Concerned for Your Loved One in a Nursing Home? Call Our Law Firm Today.
At PKSD Law, our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers are prepared to help if you suspect your loved one has been injured or suffered an illness due to the gross negligence of a caregiver at his or her facility. While many facilities are stretched to the limit during the ongoing pandemic, your loved one deserves to be properly cared for and treated with dignity and respect.
Contact our law offices anytime, day or night, to learn more about how we may be able to help. We are strong advocates for the elderly in nursing homes, and we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Schedule a free consultation today. There is no risk or obligation to discuss your potential case with a qualified attorney at our firm. We will listen with compassion, and if you have a case, we are prepared to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
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