Wisconsin Department of Health Services to list nursing homes being investigating for coronavirus

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 23:18:00-04

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will soon list which long-term care facilities have coronavirus cases on their website.

Julie Willems Van Dijk Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said on Monday they are working on indicating which nursing homes have had positive cases of COVID-19 and will put that on their website later in the week.

"Just because a nursing home has a COVID case, either in a staff member or a resident, does not mean that they have done things wrong," Van Dijk said.

DHS data shows most of Wisconsin's coronavirus investigations involve long-term care facilities. Health officials are investigating 93 long-term care facilities, and officials say about half of those have five or fewer coronavirus cases. A long-term care facility needs one case for the state to begin an investigation.

"We don't want people to look at that list and say, oh, these must be the worst nursing homes in the state," Van Dijk said. "But we are going to put up that list because of this very concern of the isolation that family members have from their loved ones in nursing homes right now."

That's a sentiment Robert Kent understands. His mother, Diane, lives at Autumn Lake Healthcare at Greenfield in Milwaukee. Like many families with loved ones in nursing homes, it's been really hard not to see her. He says she tested positive for coronavirus last week.

"Heart just drops when you hear that especially knowing she's high risk and just got done fighting pneumonia," Kent said.

Data from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner shows five people listed as residents at Autumn Lake have died in hospitals from coronavirus complications. The data shows four of those deaths happened in the past six days. The data shows the medical examiner was also called out to the facility's address on April 20.

A spokesperson for Autumn Lake Healthcare at Greenfield said they are working with state and federal agencies and following guidelines to protect their residents and staff.

Two weeks ago the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid required nursing homes to report their coronavirus cases to residents and families.

As of Monday, DHS data shows 39 percent of Wisconsin's 340 coronavirus related deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

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