US’ largest aged care provider says 70% of its COVID-19-infected staff were asymptomatic

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Another reminder that the coronavirus is a ‘silent killer’.

HCR ManorCare says 70% of staff and up to 50% of residents that tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic at the time.

The operator, which have more than 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centres, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care offices, and over 60,000 employees, says nearly 1,500 positive cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in its 222 aged care facilities.

While less than 50% had a single case, large outbreaks had taken place in homes with shared rooms or in communities with high rates of infection.

The death rate has been close to 15%.

“It is virtually impossible for us to keep it out of our facilities. In fact, we know it’s highly likely we’ll see it in our centers,” HCR ManorCare Medical Director Mark Gloth, M.D., said.

The operator has been doing its own in-house testing of residents and staff, but is only securing “about 10%” of the test kits it needs – even in states where testing of staff is mandated.

“I would love to test everybody,” Dr Gloth said. “We’re getting three to four kits at a time in many locations where we need to have many more.”

PPE remains their biggest concern however: “That keeps me awake at night,” Dr Gloth added.