Feds to track, share information on nursing home outbreaks

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However, the agency had not previously formally tracked the number of cases inside the homes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new regulatory requirements that call on nursing homes to ensure that residents, and their family members and representatives, are informed when coronavirus cases arise.

But Green added that "without testing, it was very hard to give an absolute figure" on care home deaths.

By calling into question the official figures for care-home fatalities, the studies also add to concerns that the national coronavirus death toll could be far higher than has been admitted, since daily government updates only include deaths in hospital.

The study follows separate analysis by Care England reported on Saturday suggesting that 7,500 people could have died in care homes after contracting the virus.

A CQC spokesman said the data would offer a "regional view of which areas are being most impacted and may need additional support as a result", and that it was "working closely with ONS on how our data could be used to inform their public reporting".

"It must act immediately and build a ring of steel around care homes".

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The same day the Gates foundation announced it was investing more funds to support the fight against the infectious disease. The U.S., is the largest funder of the public health agency.

One of the new policies instructs nursing homes to report cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so the federal government can start collecting data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes.

A particularly worrisome finding in the CDPH's recent report is that 34 of these SNFs are located in the Bay Area - with seven of those in SF, Central Gardens being the most affected of them with 63 confirmed cases.

Last week, Unison said care-home residents were "facing a death sentence because staff lack PPE".

The Department for Health statement said: "Every death from this virus is a tragedy and that is why we are working around the clock to give the social-care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this global pandemic". "We always knew these were the most at-risk groups, but we haven't responded to an unprecedented situation with an unprecedented plan as we did in hospitals".

She said many funeral directors lacked capacity to help at short notice.

Why it matters: Outside of inpatient health care settings, the CDC has recorded the largest chunk of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Verma noted that that federal surveillance of outbreaks at nursing homes will be important for re-opening the country since infections in the homes could be early predictors of spread in communities.

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