Louisiana begins publicly reporting COVID-19 statistics for individual nursing homes

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Louisiana on Monday began reporting the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at specific nursing homes across the state.

State officials had released the facility-specific information early in the pandemic but stopped providing those details. More than 860 of the state’s 2,440 confirmed COVID-19 deaths were nursing home residents, officials say.

J. Michael Morrow Memorial Nursing Home in St. Landry Parish has had 34 residents die, according to the report. Only certified adult care facilities are required to report the information, which also included the number of COVID-19 cases among staff. Officials say the report will be updated on Mondays.

Louisiana is working on increasing testing of people with and without symptoms at nursing homes and other facilities where large numbers of people live such as prisons, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

Edwards announced residents seeking crisis counseling can text REACH OUT to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor. The hotline is meant to help people who are experiencing “stress, anxiety or a mental health crisis.”

“I do want to urge everyone to take care of yourselves,” he said.

At noon Monday, state officials reported 123 “probable deaths” along with the 2,440 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. Almost 35,000 cases had been reported, and more than 26,000 of those patients are presumed to have recovered, officials say.

Though Louisiana has loosened some of the business restrictions meant to slow the spread of the disease, others, such as provisions limiting many businesses to 25 percent of their normal capacity, remain, and some businesses still are closed. That order expires June 5, and Edwards said he would likely announce the next steps June 1.

The primary factors will be the same as those considered when entering the first phase of loosening those restrictions. Officials will look at the rate of COVID-like symptoms, the number of cases and the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, and hospitalizations.