On April 16, the Boone County Health Dept. received a series of lab results confirming at least 12 people died in a 48-period from COVID-19 at Homewood Health Campus in Lebanon.
The BCHD also reported another death from the disease at Hoosier Village, near the border of Zionsville and Indianapolis, raising the total deaths of county residents in long-term health care facilities to 13.
Each of the deaths were elderly residents, many with preexisting health conditions, according to the BCHD.
BCHD Public Health Nurse Lisa Younts said Homewood has reported at least 50 positive cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff. As of press time, county officials have not reported any staff deaths from the disease.
The state has launched strike teams to battle outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said during a recent press conference that the state now has at least 15 strike teams that are deployed when a facility requests assistance. Strike teams help facilities reduce infection risk with training and by testing at-risk individuals for the virus.
Homewood requested assistance from a strike team after reporting its first death two weeks ago, according to the BCHD. An additional strike team visited Hoosier Village on April 15.
Safety measures that have been implemented, including signs placed to indicate where patients with the disease reside. Also, all employees are required to wear personal protective equipment, and only designated personnel can have contact with infected patients, according to the BCHD.
To date, Boone County has reported 136 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 560 residents tested.
“This is basically a perfect storm of different scenarios,” BCHD Public Health Educator Claire Haughton said. “We have a virus that’s highly infectious, and on top of that, we have elderly individuals and also people who have preexisting health conditions, so those folks already are at a very, very high risk of developing severe complications from having a (COVID-19) infection.”
On April 15, Box said at least 152 long-term care facilities in Indiana had reported at least one positive COVID-19 case, and at least 681 residents had tested positive in the facilities, roughly one percent of the population that lives in such facilities. Nearly 27 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths were residents in long-term healthcare facilities.
The state also has reported that 512 staff members at long-term care facilities have tested positive for the disease as of April 16, and at least one staff member had died from the disease.
“(It’s) heartbreaking, but it’s unfortunately an expected disparity knowing that these individuals in these facilities are our highest-risk population, based on their age and chronic health conditions,” Box said.
On April 14, Box authorized an order allowing long-term care facilities to transfer, discharge, transport or relocate residents to reduce the risks of COVID-19. Younts said she was not aware of any plans for Homewood or Hoosier Village to utilize the order.