Long-Term Care And Assisted Living Facilities Feel Pressure As COVID-19 Cases Rise

Oct 28, 2020

Credit Leading Age Wyoming

October has been a month of COVID-19 records, including active cases, deaths and hospitalizations. It's also been a hard month for long-term care and assisted living facilities in the state. 

There are about 14 of these facilities in the state with current active COVID-19 cases. That's according to Leading Age Wyoming Executive Director Eric Boley. It is a non-profit association of 29 long term care and assisted living facilities in the state.

He said the increase of cases is definitely worrisome.

"[But] we're not seeing the deadly trend that we've seen in other states, because they didn't have the ability to do the testing and to take the precautions necessary," said Boley. 

So far in October, there have been nine deaths of people in such facilities. Boley said the virus usually gets into a long term care facility through an asymptomatic employee or visitor. 

"I don't think it's completely avoidable unless you absolutely quarantine and lock down the entire staff and don't let them go anywhere," he said. "Don't let anybody in or out of the building. I just don't think it's humanly possible to keep the virus completely out of our facilities."

In order to reduce the deaths and cases in these facilities, Boley says since last month, all of his members have begun randomly testing 20 percent of the facilities' employees and patients weekly. He said this helps catch positive cases earlier. The federal government is currently providing the facilities with testing and personal protective equipment to make sure they are prepared. 

The only true way to prevent more deaths, Boley said, is for the whole state to wear masks, socially distance and wear their hands.