TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The State of Indiana is planning to help long term care facilities. They’ve become a focus again when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
In our area we know Cloverleaf Health in Knightsville, Indiana has seen a spike in cases recently. Officials say there have been 29 total cases and one death in the last 14 days.
Governor Eric Holcomb addressed the targeted approach towards long term care facilities during his COVID-19 press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Health officials are reporting 69% of COVID-19 hospitalizations this month are among those 60 years old and above. Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box says this is the highest percentage since the start of the pandemic. This is also the population that generally resides in these facilities.
Over 56% of COVID-19 deaths in Indiana are residents in long term care facilities. Because of these reasons, additional resources are being brought in to assist these facilities. The Indiana National Guard is being engaged to help with testing and infection control.
As of Tuesday night, nearly two million PPE orders by the state were headed to long term care facilities. The state also plans to hire 50 clinical staff members so all 534 long term care facilities can be visited at least three times a week.
Dr. Box says this is the right timing to engage the Indiana National Guard to assist staff members and bring these numbers down.
“By bringing in the National Guard to do this—to help do some of the screening at the front door, screening of the staff when they come in, and wiping down those frequently touched areas—this will be just a little bit off the long term care facilities’ staffing plan so that they can direct that towards their residents,” Dr. Box explained.
Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Dale Lyles detailed the National Guard’s response to assist health care providers in long term care facilities.
General Lyles says guardsmen are deploying to help prevent infection in Indiana communities. On Monday, November 2nd, the Indiana National Guard will mobilize teams to Indiana’s hardest hit facilities. They will then broaden their support to cover all 534 state long term care facilities over the following three weeks.
They will assist nursing home staff with infection control, monitoring COVID-19 checklists, registration for testing, and staff and visitor wellness checks.
General Lyles says prior to placement, all guardsmen will be tested for COVID-19 and will be tested regularly as they assist facilities.
“Indiana National Guard troops are well trained and ready to assist with keeping long term care facility residents and staff members safe and protected during this health crisis,” General Lyles said.
Professional training for national guardsmen is taking place at Camp Atterbury in South-Central Indiana this week. This is to help teach control measures and reduce unnecessary transfers of COVID-19 positive individuals to hospitals. The state is hoping these measures mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within these high risk facilities.