COVID-19 Command Center Releases New Nursing Home and Community-level COVID-19 Public Health Data

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The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center today announced additional data that will be reported on a daily and weekly basis related to COVID-19.

This data includes:

Results of a major initiative aimed at increasing COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, a critical component of the Commonwealth’s Nursing Home Accountability and Supports package announced on April 27, 2020. Between April 8 and May 25, more than 97 percent of nursing homes tested at least 90 percent of all residents and staff.

Self-reported nursing home deaths by facility

City and Town COVID-19 tests and test rate and percent positivity
COVID-19 testing results of state-operated health and human services facilities and congregate care programs across the Commonwealth

“Massachusetts produces one of the most comprehensive public data reports in the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said COVID-19 Command Center Director and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “Today we continue our commitment to improved data and transparency by releasing new information that will add to the public’s understanding of this public health crisis.”

New Schedule and Format For COVID-19 Public Health Reporting

The COVID-19 Command Center reformatted the various data streams and produce both daily and weekly reports found here, including:

A Daily Dashboard: Continued high-level, state and county metrics on cases, testing, hospitalizations and deaths. A Weekly Public Health Report: Including enhanced, more granular information that is updated on a weekly, or biweekly basis, including town-by-town case and testing information, continued reporting on cases, and deaths in Long Term Care Facilities, along with biweekly updates on nursing facility audit results, and PPE distribution.

A State Facility COVID-19 Report: The Executive Office of Health and Human Services posted for the first time a dashboard containing COVID-19 testing results of state-operated facilities and congregate care programs across the Commonwealth. This data is current as of May 27 and will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.

Details on New Data and Metrics:

Results of Nursing Home Testing & Infection Control Audits

In April, Governor Baker announced all nursing homes would be required to test residents and staff for COVID-19 as part of a $130 million Nursing Home Accountability and Supports package. Facilities that did not meet the May 25 deadline to test at least 90 percent of residents and staff will not receive the additional funding. Out of the 360 nursing homes required to submit testing data, 350 met the 90 percent threshold, five did not meet the threshold, and five did not submit the required testing data.

Testing is a critical component in implementing public health and infection control measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. The vast majority of facilities were able to meet this requirement. State officials expect that nursing facilities will continue to improve their infection control practices to prioritize the health and safety of residents and staff.

The Command Center and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) worked closely with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association to provide direct support and assistance to facilities to ensure they had access to testing options in order to meet the May 25 deadline. This included support from the Massachusetts National Guard, which has completed over 47,000 tests at nursing homes and other long-term care settings, and provided financial incentives to facilities if they arranged their own testing.

Nursing Facility Death Reporting

In addition to testing data, COVID-19 related deaths by specific nursing facility are being released on a weekly basis. The data are part of a new weekly report that will provide more granular local public health data and metrics and can be found on the COVID-19 Response Reporting Page.

The nursing facility deaths released today are self-reported by the facilities and will appear higher than previous public reporting. Previous reported deaths in nursing homes included only those residents who tested positive for COVID19. Now, in these weekly reports and in accordance with DPH long-term care regulations, nursing homes and rest homes must report deaths due to any cause such as confirmed COVID-19 positive, suspected to have COVID-19, or other related causes (even if the individual was never tested for COVID-19). This information is shared publicly for the first time beginning today.

Nursing Home Infection Control Audit Results

Last week, the Command Center released the first round of nursing home Infection Control Audits results. To be eligible for the $130 million in additional funding through the Nursing Facility Accountability and Support package, nursing homes must undergo clinical audits based on a 28-point Infection Control Checklist. EOHHS will release a bi-weekly report depicting how each facility scored on their most recent audit. Based on the facility’s score on the 28-point checklist, each facility is rated:

Green “In Adherence”: scored at least a 24 out of 28
Yellow “In Adherence but warrants reinspection”: scored at least 20 out of 28
Red “Not in Adherence”: scored under 20 and/or missed at least one of six core competencies

In the first round of audits, 228 facilities scored “Green” and 132 facilities scored “Red”. Of the 132 that scored “Red”, 119 facilities were not in adherence due to a missed core competency (e.g. improper PPE use). All facilities in the “Red” are receiving targeted infection control training and will be re-audited by 5/29. The audit results can be found by visiting the COVID-19 Response Reporting web page.

State Operated Health and Human Services Facility and Congregate Care Programs

Today the Executive Office of Health and Human Services posted a new dashboard containing COVID-19 testing results of state-operated facilities and congregate care sites across the Commonwealth. This data is current as of May 27 and will be updated weekly on Wednesday.

City and Town Data Enhancements:

New data on the tests conducted per city and town and positive test rate for COVID-19 will be released on a weekly basis. This new information will supplement case counts by community.

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