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New York told nursing-home operators that they will be required to accept patients infected with the new coronavirus who are discharged from hospitals but may be still convalescing, amid more cases in the state that are straining the health-care system.
The decision will draw pushback from some nursing-home officials, who have warned that such moves endanger residents who aren’t infected by the virus, because discharged patients may still be contagious. A group representing doctors who work in nursing homes, known as AMDA, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, said in a recent resolution that “admitting patients with suspected or documented Covid-19 infection represents a clear and present danger to all of the residents of a nursing home.”
“We’ve got an extraordinarily vulnerable population on our hands,” said Christopher Laxton, executive director of the group. Nursing homes’ older, often frail residents are particularly susceptible to the virus. Many nursing homes have also long struggled with infection control, according to federal inspection records and researchers.
Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, has been spreading rapidly in nursing homes, resulting in large outbreaks and more deaths across the U.S. The federal government has said there are cases in at least 147 nursing homes, with clusters and deaths reported in elder-living facilities from Louisiana to Vermont to Florida.