New report warns of possible third wave in long-term care facilities

New report warns of possible third wave in long-term care facilities

VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Health officials in Vanderburgh County reported more than 250 new positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend, and a new report out Monday suggests if communities see a rise in cases, so will long-term care facilities.

The report from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living warns of a potential third wave of COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities.

Lynn Herr with the Vanderburgh County Health Department says there are 23 long-term care facilities in the county, which can be monitored on the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

“They are the ones that are going to suffer from our increased rates," says Herr.

Herr confirmed the trends in Vanderburgh County are similar to that of the national report. It suggests, nationwide, facilities reported fewer cases in August and September, but now, those cases are, once again, on the rise.

“We know those individuals living in long-term care facilities aren’t going out, so people have to bring it in," says Herr. "If our community has a high incidence, then those individuals working in long-term care, whether they know it or not, if they’re asymptomatic, or they know they’ve had an exposure, before they know they’re sick, they are in those areas.”

This warning comes after Vanderburgh County saw more than 250 new positive cases over the weekend. Nationally, health officials say the next six-to-12 weeks could be the worst the country has seen since the start of the pandemic.

“I think that is my biggest fear as we move indoors, as more people get sick," says Herr. "That our most vulnerable populations are the ones that will suffer the most loss.”

Herr went on to say most of the area’s positive cases are younger people, but those 70 years or older account for 60 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths. She says as the community approaches the holidays and colder weather, she is working closely with facilities to make sure outdoor visitation can safely continue.

“I’ve talked to these administrators over and over, and they want you there," says Herr. "It’s just this definite balance in between safety and making sure everyone gets to see their loved-ones.”

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