The state of Indiana has announced a change in policy in how it will release data regarding positive cases of COVID-19 and deaths in long term care facilities, a change welcomed by the Indiana chapter of the AARP.
The organization has been pressing the Indiana State Department of Health for the release of facility-specific data.
Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, announced Wednesday the state of Indiana will disclose which facilities have had COVID-19 cases through an interactive dashboard.
“As we have all learned, responding to this pandemic requires us to continually evaluate our approaches, and when appropriate to change them. This is one of those times,” said Rusyniak.
As Indiana entered phase four of the Back on Track reopening plan, some nursing homes started to ease visitor restrictions. They are now allowing for some visits outside the facilities, as long as precautions are taken.
“We appreciate all of the caregivers, members of the media, and others who joined in helping convince the administration that releasing this data is what’s in the best interest for not only residents and their families, but communities across the state,” said AARP Indiana State Director Sarah Waddle.
Rusyniak said preliminary data reaching back to March 1 will be available to the public in mid-July, with the fully interactive public dashboard coming 2-4 weeks after that.
“It’s going to take some time, but that time is necessary to follow the process so we can have an informative and updateable, interactive public dashboard moving forward,” said Rusyniak.
The latest data from the ISDH shows 178 of Indiana’s 534 long term care facilities have had at least one COVID-19-related death.
The total number of deaths in LTCs is 1,166, according to the ISDH dashboard. The total number of deaths in Indiana 2,469.
There have been 5,432 positive cases of the disease.
“This announcement is a strong step toward clearing up the confusion stemming from data provided by different agencies, and it is our hope that this new dashboard will bring more transparency to the difficulties we have seen at our long-term care facilities during this health crisis,” said Waddle.
Indiana FSSA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Daniel Rusyniak explains why the state made the decision.