LAWTON, Okla. – A new report shows nursing homes in the United States have hit another peak in coronavirus cases.
Since mid-September, officials report there’s been a 177-percent rise in new weekly nursing home cases nationwide.
These are the highest weekly confirmed cases at nursing homes since the spring.
In Oklahoma today, the Comanche County Health Department Regional Director for District 5 Southwest said the numbers were no better.
“When you look at the numbers that were reported today – 54 deaths in our state,” she said. “That’s incredibly sad to have to report that number and 47 over those were over 65.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported a total of 7,199 cases between residents and staff at long-term care facilities last week.
Combs said even though local nursing homes are trying to reduce the spread of the virus, it’s difficult to contain because it’s an older population and many have underlying conditions.
“Obviously, when you start talking about a long-term care facility or a nursing home, assisted living anywhere where you have a population of people that are considered vulnerable and they all live in the same area, it becomes even a heightened concern,” she said.
Most are putting strategies in place like limiting visitors, creating COVID wings for positive residents and conducting rapid tests routinely.
She said any time there’s a case at a nursing home, the state gets involved to make sure there are quality infectious control practices in place.
“You’re dawning and dopping your PPE correctly,” she said. “You’re not going from room to room with the same pair of gloves on, you’re limited visitors, you’re screening people that are coming in, whether it’s a provider or an employee that’s coming in.”
When a vaccine is approved, long-term care facility residents and employees will be among the first in the state to get the vaccine according to Oklahoma’s distribution plan.