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Most COVID-19 deaths in Boone County are at nursing homes

LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — Thirty-two percent of Indiana’s coronavirus deaths — 260 — have been patients at long-term care facilities.

In Boone County, the percentage is even higher: 23 of the 25 deaths are from long-term health care facilities. One facility in Lebanon has lost 15 people.

On Tuesday, the Boone County Health Department reported four more people had died in long-term health care facilities from what appears to be COVID-19 related illnesses. In total, 87 people have tested positive.

Homewood Heath Campus on the north side of Lebanon has reported to the county 59 positive cases and 15 deaths since the state and county started tracking COVID-19 cases.

Hoosier Village on the Boone-Hamilton county line is reporting 15 cases and four deaths. Claire Haughton, public heath educator for the Boone County Health Department, said she suspects the actual number of cases is higher, due to the availability of tests, the type of test and where the tests were performed.

“It is probably a pretty safe assumption that there are more COVID-related deaths out there than what we know of,” said Haughton.

Haughton said doctors reporting presumptive cases and health care facilities reporting positive cases and deaths directly to local health departments has helped get a handle on the true number of cases.

“Like with Homewood, when they first started getting those deaths and they started having a few more, strike teams would come out on a regular basis to work with them and try to figure out what is going on, how do things look in this facility, what can we do to reduce the risk of infection,” said Haughton.

Boone County Health Department also has a supply of personal protective equipment they received from the state. The pile of gowns, masks and gloves changes day to day but is available to health care facilities that ask. So far the county has given out 857 N95 masks,1,244 gowns, 1,051 face shields, 12,869 masks and 4,732 pairs of gloves.

PPEs are a valuable commodity in long-term health care facilities.

The Indiana Health Care Association’s sent this statement to News 8: “Indiana’s long term care facilities desperately need PPE. Many long term care providers are still unable to
find sufficient masks and gowns. There is also an urgent need to increase testing capacity in the state to be able to identify new cases and respond quickly.”

Boone County has had two COVID-19-related deaths outside of long-term health care facilities. It is hard to determine if the surge has passed or is still coming, but more testing will help.