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Wyoming Ranks Third In The Nation For Coronavirus-Related Nursing Homes Deaths

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AARP is a non-profit dedicated to the wellness of people over 50. It partnered with Miami University in Ohio to provide four-week snapshots of COVID-19's impact on nursing homes residents and staff in states across the country.In the most recent Wyoming-specific report, 85 percent of the state's coronavirus-related deaths were residents of a long-term care facility. This ranks Wyoming third in the nation for COVID-19-related nursing homes deaths per 100 residents. Wyoming is behind neighboring states South Dakota and Montana.

Tom Lacock, communications and state advocate for AARP Wyoming, said the trend doesn't look good in the state where staff shortages have seen a huge spike.

"We've also seen a pretty dramatic impact on nursing homes [and] staffing, as a result, because unfortunately, COVID gets in the facility, and it doesn't just impact the residents, really the impact is direct to caregivers," said Lacock. "Those people who are actually willing to put themselves in harm's way to take care of some of our most vulnerable adults."

He said he hopes the state continues to prioritize testing as well as some other measures.

"[Like] improving transparency, in terms of public reporting cases in depth to help the families know what's going on, requiring access to facilitated virtual visitation, [and] ensuring quality care for residents," said Lacock.

Lacock said without the $10 million of CARES funding that Gov. Mark Gordon dedicated to bringing in staff for the facilities, Wyoming could have been worse off.

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