Danielle Ivory, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Mitch Smith,
The New York Times Company
April 14, 2020
Even before the first resident tested positive for the coronavirus at a nursing home in Richmond, Virginia, staff members were worried.
As many as three people shared one room, supplies were hard to come by, and the home did not have as many nurses as it needed. All of these factors made it an ideal place for the virus to spread, and it quickly did, with catastrophic results.
At first, only two out of about 160 residents were sick with the virus. One was sharing a room with a woman in her 80s; she contracted the virus, too, and later died.
Now, about a month later, at least 45 residents of the nursing home, the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, have died after falling ill with the virus, the highest known death toll at a long-term care facility in the United States, according to an analysis of case data by The New York Times.
The facility has struggled to stop the outbreak, which has killed more than a quarter of its residents and infected about 80% of them, in part because of a lack of resources. Most of its residents rely on Medicaid.
“We were shocked,” said Dr. Jim Wright, the facility’s medical director. “We thought we had it relatively contained until the results started coming in. And that revealed to us how far behind we were.”
The Times has identified more than 2,500 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the United States with coronavirus cases. More than 21,000 residents and staff members at those facilities have contracted the virus, and more than 3,800 have died.
Even those figures are an undercount, but they go beyond what states have reported. The Times only included cases that have been confirmed by a state or county government agency or by a long-term care facility. Many states, counties and facilities have declined to provide information or provided partial information.
The Times has tracked hundreds of clusters of coronavirus cases across the country. The 10 deadliest have been in nursing homes and long-term care centers, including the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, which was linked to at least 43 coronavirus deaths, and the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where at least 36 deaths have been linked to the virus.
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