State requiring long-term care facilities to report COVID-19 cases within 24 hours

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thirty-one Hoosiers have now died after contracting COVID-19 at long-term care facilities.

That’s 15% of all COVID deaths in the state, and Tammy Bowman fears her sister could become number 32.

“In a very short time her temperature went from 100.7, and when she arrived at the hospital it was 102.7,” Bowman said.

Until Monday, Tammy’s 68-year-old sister lived at a nursing home in Hendricks County. She had been there just two months. Now she’s in the hospital, with what her sister told us is COVID-19. She also has multiple sclerosis.

“The doctors are not hopeful about my sister, because her MS has compromised her already.,” Bowman said. “But my sister loves people, she’s always fought for the underdog.”

So now Tammy is fighting for her, and for other families.

“Families don’t have any choice about it if they aren’t told that it’s happening and people are just blatantly saying ‘no we don’t have any cases,” Bowman said.

The company that owns the facility told FOX59 they don’t have any positive cases. Now the state is mandating these facilities report positive tests and deaths for both residents and employees.

“We provided a checklist very early on to all of our facilities emphasizing the importance of not only reporting this to your local and state public health officials, but making sure that your residents and their families were notified about the positive cases or deaths that occurred,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.

Under the new guidelines, a facility has 24 hours to notify health officials, who say protecting the more than 65,000 Hoosiers living in these homes is the main goal.

“They’re our parents, our siblings, neighbors, sons daughters and friends,” said Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer of the Indiana FSSA. “They are our family, and we will do everything we can to help family.”

State health officials also said they’ve tested more than 600 residents at care facilities and jails, and have had nearly 200 positive cases.

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