More than 300 nursing home residents in St. Louis County have died of COVID-19, county says
ST. LOUIS COUNTY — More than 300 residents of nursing and assisted-living homes in St. Louis County have died of COVID-19 and more than 1,400 others have been infected, according to county data released Friday.
The death toll represents about two-thirds of all COVID-19-related deaths in the county, records show.
The St. Louis County Department of Health is the first Missouri government agency to release detailed information about COVID-19 infections and deaths among residential care facilities, identifying 71 care homes that self-reported COVID-19 infections or deaths among residents.
They include seven Delmar Gardens nursing homes that together reported dozens of COVID-19 infections. The Chesterfield-based agency, the largest for-profit provider of long-term care in the St. Louis region, previously declined to publicly confirm COVID-19 infections, citing privacy concerns.
At first glance, the number of deaths and infections in St. Louis County exceed federal estimates of COVID-19 nursing home deaths statewide. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services on Thursday reported that 253 nursing Missouri nursing home residents died of COVID-19 and that 1,100 residents were infected.
But CMS data only included federally licensed nursing homes. It did not include assisted-living communities and other types of residential care facilities.
The state health department, meanwhile, has reported that at at least 176 long-term care facilities in Missouri have had at least one COVID-19 infection, including 75 facilities in St. Louis County. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has not released a tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths at the facilities. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The data released by St. Louis County was self-reported by residential care facilities and still needs to be verified by local officials, Department of Public Health Director Spring Schmidt said in a written statement. They could include errors; some residential care companies did not include the specific names of the locations affected, for example.
The county was unable to obtain information about COVID-19 infections among the facilities’ employees, Schmidt said.
The county did not specify the number of COVID-19 cases at residential care facilities reporting fewer than five infections, to help protect the identity of those patients, Schmidt said. Federal and state laws forbid health agencies from releasing medical information in a way that can personally identify patients.
The county did not identify how many deaths were reported by each facility.
Despite the caveats, the preliminary data provided by St. Louis County and CMS provide a glimpse into the impact on senior-living communities of COVID-19, which health experts say is particularly dangerous to older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Nationwide, nearly 32,000 residents and 683 employees of federally licensed nursing homes have died of COVID-19, which is particularly dangerous to older adults and people with preexisting medical conditions. More than 95,000 other residents were infected. The numbers are expected to change as local, state and federal officials collect and verify more data.
Several senior-living communities in the St. Louis area that have publicly confirmed COVID-19 cases said they took precautions recommended by federal and local health officials to prevent the spread of the virus, including barring visitors in recent weeks, screening employees and residents daily for symptoms including fevers and coughs, closing common areas, canceling group events and maintaining appropriate distances between residents.
The number of COVID-19 deaths and infections among residential care facilities in St. Louis County “should not be seen as an indictment of the care residents receive at the facilities,” Department of Public Health Director Spring Schmidt said in a written statement. County health authorities offered residential care facilities free protective equipment like masks and gloves and increased COVID-19 testing, Schimdt said.
“We understand how difficult fighting the pandemic has been for these facilities, and we support them,” Schmidt said. “These cases are not a result of any flaws — they are the result of a relentless pandemic.”
St. Louis County facilities with 40 or more COVID-19 cases
A dozen residential care facilities in St. Louis County had 40 or more COVID-19 cases, accounting for more than half of all cases reported by such facilities in the county. (Source: St. Louis County Department of Public Health)
|Residential care facility name||Address||COVID-19 case count|
|Christian Extended Care & Rehabilitation||11160 Village North Drive, north St. Louis County||40|
|Crystal Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center||250 South New Florissant Road, Florissant||56|
|Delmar Gardens North||4401 Parker Road, Florissant||74|
|Delmar Gardens of Meramec Valley||1 Arbor Terrace, Fenton||73|
|Florissant Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center||1200 Graham Road, Florissant||40|
|Green Park Senior Living Community||9350 Green Park Road, Green Park||54|
|Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs||1 Meramec Bluffs Drive, Ballwin||40|
|Nazareth Living Center||2 Nazareth Lane, Mehlville||76|
|NHC HealthCare Maryland Heights||2920 Fee Fee Road, Maryland Heights||102|
|Oakwood Estates Nursing & Rehabilitation||5303 Bermuda Drive, Normandy||46|
|St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center||936 Charbonier Road, Florissant||65|
|Stonebridge Maryland Heights||2963 Doddridge Avenue, Maryland Heights||67|
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