Death data for individual nursing homes released
DPH also releases positive testing rates by municipality
A correction has been added to this story.
THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH on Wednesday evening released a breakdown of COVID-19 fatalities at 319 privately run long-term care facilities that begins to shed light on where the state’s elderly residents have been dying.
According to the breakdown, 33 of the long-term care facilities had no fatalities at all among their residents while 19 reported 30 or more deaths, including three that had 60 or more.
The Julian J. Leavitt Family Nursing Home in Longmeadow reported 66 of its residents died from COVID-19. The Mary Immaculate Nursing and Restorative Center in Lawrence reported 64 resident deaths and the Courtyard Care Nursing Center in Medford reported 60.
The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, which was not included in the breakdown because it is run by the state, has reported 76 deaths.
Sixty-one percent of all the COVID-19 deaths in the state have been at long-term care facilities, but until now information on where exactly those deaths have occurred has been kept secret unless the nursing facility chose to release the information.
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are close to an agreement that would require the Baker administration to regularly release data on nursing home deaths by facility. As recently as Monday, the Department of Public Health said it wasn’t releasing its death data. “Due to patient confidentiality policies, we are not reporting the number of deaths by facility but are including them in aggregate,” an agency spokesperson told the MetroWest Daily News.
But on Wednesday the information appeared on the agency’s website, along with a host of other data, including a breakdown by municipality of the percentage of residents tested for COVID-19 who tested positive. The statewide average positive testing rate was 17 percent, but it went as high as 44.4 percent in the tiny town of Buckland, where 8 of the 14 residents who were tested tested positive.
The data on Chelsea was particularly interesting. Chelsea is perhaps the hardest-hit community in the state when it comes to COVID-19, with 40.2 percent of the 6,742 residents tested for COVID-19 testing positive.
Most people have assumed that the high number of positive cases in Chelsea translates into a high number of deaths. But the newly released data on nursing home fatalities indicates just over 100 of the 148 COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in Chelsea have been in four nursing homes. That sort of granular understanding of what is going on in municipalities will take some time to sort out, but now most of the information is available.Other communities with high positive testing rates are Lynn (31.3 percent), Everett (30.6 percent), Revere (27.4 percent), Randolph (25.7 percent), Holyoke (25.6 percent), and Braintree (24.2 percent).
Of the 10 long-term care facilities with the most deaths, five passed a recent audit of their compliance with a 28-point infection control checklist and five failed. The five that failed were Mary Immaculate in Lawrence, Courtyard Care in Medford, Belmont Manor in Belmont, Eastpoint Rehabilitation in Chelsea, and Baypointe Rehabilitation Center in Brockton.