Baton Rouge area nursing home reports highest cases in the region

Baton Rouge area nursing home reports highest cases in the region
Old Jefferson Community Care Center (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The new data released by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) shows nursing homes account for nearly half of the total coronavirus deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish. Of the 212 deaths reported in the parish, 112 are in adult care facilities.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards calls it concerning.

“It especially concerns me when it affects people who are more vulnerable and in those congregate settings and so nursing homes checks all the boxes,” the governor said.

RELATED: Statewide nursing home concerns highlighted with newly released data

The largest outbreak is at Old Jefferson Community Care Center in Baton Rouge. The report shows that the facility has had 83 people infected with the virus. Of those, 21 have died.

“I don’t blame anybody,” said Lisa Gardner, spokeswoman for Old Jefferson.

Gardner says they have been doing everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the outbreak began.

“From the very beginning, we followed every CDC, every LDH, and every governor’s guidance and what scientists, public health officials, and providers have discovered is that this is information in which very little was known initially,” said Gardner.

The governor says Louisiana was one of the first states to shut off visits to nursing homes amid the pandemic. Gardner tells WAFB they complied right away but by then the guidance could have very well been outdated compared to how fast information was changing.

“The information was changing so rapidly,” said Gardner. “Public health officials, doctors, hospitals, other healthcare providers, and everyone, we’re trying to keep up with the latest information.”

It was not until April nursing homes were told folks without symptoms can also spread the virus. Gardner says they responded to that guidance right away, working to get more testing for everyone at the nursing home.

“Ochsner Health System procured tests for our residents and we were able to get an independent lab to test our employees,” said Gardner.

“Facilities implementing increased testing may report higher case counts due to enhanced case detection measures,” the governor added.

Gardner says they are committed to keeping their testing current as the coronavirus continues to spread.

“We will continue doing that on a routine basis,” she said.

Numbers for the cases of coronavirus inside nursing homes will be updated each Monday on the LDH website.

For more information on the nursing home report from LDH click here.

EDITORIAL NOTE: An earlier version of this report stated that this facility had the highest number of cases in the state. Another facility in Shreveport has reported a higher number of cases, however. Additionally, the original reported stated that all but one individual at the facility has been infected with the virus. We have removed that statement at this time due to further review of the data.

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