The state prison in Farmington is undergoing at least its second major COVID-19 spike, with 300 detainees and 53 staff members infected. Since the pandemic began, there have been 481 detainees and 108 staffers infected at Farmington. Down the road, also in St. Francois County, the prison at Bonne Terre has 46 active detainee cases and nine staff members affected, bringing its total to 370 detainees infected since the pandemic began, and 103 staff members.
St. Francois County, just south of St. Louis, has one of the highest positivity rates in the state of Missouri, at 37 people per 1,000. It’s a chicken-and-egg question: Is the prison spike feeding the positivity rate, or is it because there is little mask wearing and social distancing in another rural county eschewing mandates and restrictions, continuing to believe that the more than 210,000 deaths nationwide are a hoax?
Missourians should not be surprised by COVID-19 spikes in institutions in rural areas, says Dave Dillon, the spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, which has been urging the governor to implement mask mandates and other pandemic restrictions.
“With the high infection rates statewide, smaller communities’ hospital and health care resources are reaching their capacity levels,” Dillon says. “When you look at where the patients are from, many are from outside of the community or even county where the hospital is located. While we can’t prove causation, it certainly correlates that these patients are from communities that have not put strict precautions in place for transmission like mask mandates or social distancing requirements.”
Gov. Parson instructed Missouri Veterans Commission Chairman Timothy Noonan to conduct a rapid, independent, external review of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Governor Mike Parson has ordered an external review of all seven of the state’s veteran homes and their COVID-19 operations.
The order comes after four veterans have died in Missouri Veterans Homes.
According to a release from the governor’s office, data that was presented on Thursday in a briefing with Gov. Parson raised concerns about how well Missouri Veterans Homes are uniformly and systematically operating to prevent and, if necessary, contain COVID-19 outbreaks among their staff and residents.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the deaths in four of our Missouri Veterans Homes,” Governor Parson said. “As a veteran myself, I care a great deal about the quality of care our veterans receive at the Veterans Homes in our state and have raised an alarm bell more than once when I felt we as a state weren’t meeting the standard of care I believe they are owed.”
“We have been fighting COVID-19 for over seven months now, and we have learned a lot about how to fight the virus since March,” Governor Parson continued. “The recent sudden positive case growth among staff and residents in our Veterans Homes, and most importantly, the tragic loss of lives of veterans in our care are, in my opinion, unacceptable.”
Gov. Parson instructed Missouri Veterans Commission Chairman Timothy Noonan to conduct a rapid, independent, external review of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes.
The external review will assess their performance and identify what steps, if any, should be taken to improve their management of COVID-19.
Gov. Parson’s office said he also directed the deployment of the new Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests to Missouri Veterans Homes
Missouri Governor Mike Parson is calling for a review of coronavirus prevention procedures in the state’s seven veterans homes after the deaths of residents in four of the homes and a spike in cases.
“Data presented to me yesterday in a briefing raised concerns regarding how well Missouri Veterans Homes are uniformly and systematically operating to prevent and, if necessary, contain COVID-19 outbreaks among their staff and residents,” Parson said Friday in a Facebook post.
The homes will also receive 2,400 rapid COVID-19 tests, the governor said.
The Mt. Vernon Veterans Home in southwest Missouri confirmed its first case of COVID-19 the day after Parson visited the facility on September 15. Parson tested positive on September 23, but his staff members do not believe he became infected during the visit. The home has now reported 24 infections among veterans and 12 among staff, according to the Missouri Veterans Commission.
This week, the St. James Veterans Home in Phelps County reported 25 active cases among veterans and seven among staff.
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Veterans groups rally at the Menlo Park veterans home after 62 residents died of Covid-19 on September 16, 2020.
The New Jersey attorney general has requested troves of documents from the Paramus and Menlo Park veterans homes in a far-reaching investigation of their high death tolls during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a state records review has increased total coronavirus deaths at the two state-run facilities to 190.
The addition of 47 “probable” deaths due to COVID-19 at the two New Jersey veterans homes means that nearly a third of the residents at each home died of confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. Two nurses aides, one at each of the homes, also died.
Thirty-nine previously uncounted deaths at the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home make its 101 resident deaths the highest now reported at a New Jersey nursing home and the highest among state-run veterans homes nationwide. There were 300 residents at the home on March 13 when the homes closed their doors to visitors on orders from health officials.
Members of the Passaic Valley Elks Lodge, including veteran Bob Keller, second from left, honor each of the over one hundred veterans who have passed away from Covid-19 at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus by placing one flag for each veteran on the front lawn of the home on May 24, 2020.
(Photo: AMY NEWMAN, NORTHJERSEY.COM/ USA TODAY NETWORK)
At the Paramus Memorial Veterans Home, an additional eight probable deaths attributed to COVID-19 by the state Health Department increase its total to 89. Before the pandemic, the home had 312 residents. The number of probable deaths at each home was released this week after NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network New Jersey asked for them.
“Having one-third of the residents die in our veterans homes is
A state-run nursing home for veterans in New Jersey failed to attribute nearly 40% of its likely Covid-19 deaths to the virus, according to the state’s own Department of Health.
The Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home, in Edison, N.J., attributed 62 deaths to the new coronavirus on the website of the state’s veterans’ affairs agency. But a Department of Health spokeswoman, Nancy Kearney, said late Wednesday that an additional 39 people probably died from the virus at the facility during a wave of infections there.
Another state-run veterans home, in Paramus, N.J., also likely had more Covid-19 deaths than the total it attributed to the virus, Ms. Kearney said. The likely undercount at the two facilities, among the deadliest in the state for the virus, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The findings show how publicly reported nursing home mortality figures can fail to reflect the true toll the pandemic has taken on the facilities, which are home to some of the most virus-vulnerable people in the country.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Kryn Westhoven, in a statement released Wednesday, said his agency “mourns each and every veteran that passes away in our Memorial homes…. Much like other long-term care facilities across the state and country, Covid-19 created unprecedented circumstances and demands within our veterans memorial homes. During this time, all deaths were reported to the Department of Health.”
The two state-run nursing homes have faced a barrage of criticism from families of deceased residents. The Paramus facility, which initially reported more deaths, has in particular come under fire.