Coronavirus Hitting Michigan Nursing Homes

Nursing homes in Michigan and elsewhere are facing an uphill battle against COVID-19, where senior communities are beginning to lose ground.

As of last week, 147 nursing homes across 27 states have reported positive cases of COVID-19 among residents and employees.

At least 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the Beaumont Commons in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and yesterday 31 residents and 5 employees tested positive at a facility in Cedar Springs, Michigan.

With over 15,000 nursing homes across the country, this is a small number, but it seems likely more positive cases will surface inside other facilities. It’s only a matter of time, according to a Grand Rapids CEO of the Clark Retirement Community, even after implementing difficult measures like closing facilities to families, extreme cleaning, suspension of communal meals and gatherings, and taking temperatures of every employee on all shifts. He says the odds of not being affected “are pretty small.”

In nursing homes, personal care is intimate, and aged bodies with chronic disease make COVID-19 deadly for these elderly residents. USA Today this month found that 75% of the nation’s nursing homes have been cited for infection control violations. Personal protection equipment is even more scarce at nursing homes than at hospitals.

Nursing homes can also be particularly vulnerable because they rely on low-wage workers who feel they have little choice but to work.

Nursing homes are not only fighting infection, they are fighting isolation for their residents who have already sacrificed their homes and personal comforts. Some homes have purchased tablets for residents to Skype or FaceTime their loved ones, and some homes have allowed employees to bring in their pets.

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