KENDALLVILLE — More than 100 residents and staff in nursing homes in five northeast Indiana counties contracted COVID-19, leading to at least 15 deaths in the region.
Those figures are not a complete picture of the pandemic inside long-term care facilities, either, as some facilities have not submitted their data to the state yet.
Still, from what is in the report, we know that Noble County’s Lutheran Life Village at Kendallville suffered one of the worst outbreaks among more than 750 facilities in the state.
On Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health released its preliminary batch of data on nursing home infections and deaths, figures that had been sought after by statewide media outlets for months but had previously not been provided to the public.
Indiana is currently in the process of building a public dashboard that will be made available to the wider public, with options to search by communities or individual facilities. That work may take another three weeks, Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and leader of the state’s long-term care facility response, said Wednesday.
In order to build the data set, Rusyniak said that nursing homes are required to submit historical data to the state dating back to March about positive cases among residents and staff as well as resident and staff deaths.
Of the 756 licensed facilities in Indiana, 630 had submitted their data as of Wednesday and are available to the public now.
“The first step in that process was to ask facilities to go back to the start of this pandemic and collect all of the information around residents and staff that had positive COVID tests or had died,” Rusyniak said.
Even without individualized data, Rusyniak reported that, in total, nursing homes have accounted for 8,388 cases of COVID-19, 14.3% of the statewide total, while they have also accounted for 1,402 deaths, 52.6% of the statewide total.
Of the total cases, 5,867 cases were residents of nursing homes, while 2,521 were nursing home staff.
Deaths are almost exclusively residents, accounting for 1,390 of the total deaths, with only 12 long-term care workers having died. Because there were so few staff deaths, the state has not detailed deaths by facility to ensure privacy.
KPC Media Group searched and compiled data for 19 nursing home facilities located in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties. The data currently does not label facilities by county or community, so the list may not be comprehensive for all nursing home facilities in the five-county area.
Of those 19 facilities, three had not reported data yet. Among those three are Presence Sacred Heart Home in Avilla, which had a known large outbreak and multiple deaths based on past reporting from the Noble County Health Department.
While reporting the data, the state indicates when facilities have fewer than five cases, but does not list an exact number, again for privacy considerations.
With those reporting restrictions in place and several facilities having five or fewer cases, the 16 facilities that have responded to the state so far reported at least 85 cases among residents, at least 37 cases among staff and at least 15 deaths.
At maximum, based on the reported information, the 16 facilities had up to 94 cases among residents, 67 cases among staff and 20 deaths.
Most of the local case load comes from Lutheran Life Villages Village at Kendallville, one of two facilities in Noble County that had major outbreaks.
Since the start of the pandemic, Lutheran Life Villages reported 69 cases among residents, 27 cases among staff and 13 deaths.
The 69 known cases among residents ranked 19th overall among the 630 facilities that provided data in the initial report.
That outbreak, however, is finally over, as Noble County Health Officer Dr. Terry Gaff reported last week that all Noble County nursing homes were free of active cases at that time.
The only other facility to register a reported number of cases was Majestic Care of West Allen in Whitley County, which reported 13 cases among residents. Three other facilities reported at least one case among residents — Betz Nursing Home in Auburn, North Ridge Village Nursing and Rehabilitation in Albion, and Aperion Care in Angola.
Outside of Lutheran Life Villages, 10 other facilities reported less than five staff members testing positive for COVID-19.
Only three reporting facilities had logged any deaths — 13 at Lutheran Life Villages in Kendallville and then at least one at Majestic Care of West Allen and Aperion Care in Angola.
Four nursing homes — Miller’s Merry Manor in Garrett, Hickory Creek in Kendallville, The Laurels of DeKalb in Butler, and Northern Lakes Nursing and Rehabilitation in Angola — reported zero cases and deaths for both residents and staff.
The figures suggest that most cases reported in the region have been patients outside of nursing homes.
In total, the DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties have logged 1,575 total cases of COVID-19, with the currently reported numbers account for, at maximum, 161 of those, 10.2%.