Tuesday 02 June 2020

Nursing home residents hard hit by corona, lack of tests and equipment: NRC

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The NRC reports that almost half the residents of a Rotterdam nursing home unit for elderly dementia patients have died in the past three weeks, probably from coronavirus.

A spokesman for the De Leeuwenhoek home told the paper that ‘a large number of patients have died’ but will not give a figure. According to the paper, 15 people have died so far, and there are new deaths on an almost daily basis.

In the meantime, all 72 residents of the home have reportedly been tested for coronavirus and it now transpires 25% of patients and over a quarter of the permanent staff have been infected, the paper said.

On Wednesday, RIVM infectious diseases chief Jaap van Dissel told MPs that coronavirus cases have been identified in at least 900 of the Netherlands’ 2,500 nursing homes but it is unclear as yet how many cases there are in total.

By April 1, 281 nursing home residents had died in the homes, Van Dissel said. The official total death toll from coronavirus on April 1 was 1,173.

According to the NRC, 4,160 nursing home residents had been infected, or are thought to be infected and at least 389 had died by the beginning of this week. The figures come from Verenso, the association for geriatric medical specialists which has been collecting its own figures in the absence of tests.

Visits to nursing homes have been banned since March 19 in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.

Nevertheless, coronavirus is spreading quickly among the country’s 120,000 nursing home residents. Staff are not yet eligible for routine testing if they have symptoms and a shortage of protective equipment, including face masks, is also a major issue, the NRC said.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday afternoon that officials and the health service inspectorate are doing all they can to try to make sure the situation in nursing homes does not worsen.

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