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State doubles down on not releasing where nursing home residents have died from COVID-19

County health departments are providing lists to the public
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Posted at 9:13 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 21:13:44-04

INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials doubled down Friday on not releasing where nursing home residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at which facilities long term care residents have died.

The Indiana State Department of Health has released aggregate totals of people who have died in nursing homes and long term care— 420 people to date, making up one-third of the deaths in the state, and only 10 percent of positive cases.

But the state has not released breakdowns by facility, even as more and more county health departments are releasing specific information including Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hamilton and Johnson counties.

Meanwhile, families say the number of nursing home deaths and cases they’re receiving from facilities via email are not matching up with what the staff is telling them.

Some are pushing for the state to post the information on the state’s dashboard.

READ | Indiana's lack of nursing home COVID-19 info leaves families without answers

Call 6 Investigates asked the following question at Friday’s news conference:
“We continue to hear from families who say the nursing home numbers they’re getting from facilities via email are not matching up with what the staff is telling them. Some are pushing for the state to post breakdowns by facility on the state’s dashboard. Meanwhile, more and more county health departments like Boone Johnson and Hendricks ARE releasing this information. What is your response to those families and now counties who say the public should see this information?”

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box responded to RTV6 with the following statement:
"The local public health officers and public health departments have the right to release the information if that's something they're comfortable with, and if they've worked with those institutions and they feel that's important for their community. I continue to support releasing aggregate data. And I continue to say we've posted on our website the availability for anyone who is having issues as a family member or a resident with getting this information, to reach out to us, and we will investigate that for them."

If your family's nursing home is not providing the number of cases and deaths at your loved one’s facility, you can report it to familyoutreach@isdh.in.gov.

Call 6 Investigates also created a list of nursing home cases, and we want to add to it.

Has your nursing home reported deaths or COVID-19 cases to you? Email kara.kenney@wrtv.com to share that information with our team.