Canyon Creek Memory Care assisted living facility in Billings, Montana, was offered free, voluntary surveillance coronavirus testing for residents and staff by the state of Montana on June 16 but declined, health officials say.  Now, almost all of the residents and staff at the Facility have Covid-19, and eight residents have already died of the disease, according to officials.

Koelsch Senior Communities runs the facility.  Koelsch Senior Communities runs more than 35 facilities in eight states across the country, according to its website.  The eight deaths at Canyon Creek make up almost 25% of the state’s death toll and more than 60% of the county death toll.

USA Today allowed Trump’s toady and former chief of staff criticize the country’s coronavirus testing. Trump has frequently boasted about the United States’ testing capabilities compared to other countries. He has wrongly and repeatedly attributed a rise in coronavirus cases to expanded testing, even though the surges in cases in hard-hit states exceed the increases in testing and hospitals are facing growing strains.

Mulvaney, who was previously a Republican congressman representing South Carolina, wrote that rather than focusing on giving Americans another round of stimulus checks, future legislation from Congress should aim to address the public health crisis. The reason people aren’t traveling and going on vacations is not necessarily because they lack the funds to do so, Mulvaney wrote, but because they are afraid of the health consequences.

“I know it isn’t popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country,” Mick Mulvaney, who is currently the U.S.’ special envoy to Northern Ireland, wrote in an op-ed for CNBC.

Mulvaney described his family’s efforts to get tested for the coronavirus, noting that they had to wait up to a week to receive his son’s results, while being told his daughter didn’t meet the criteria for receiving a test, even though she was planning on visiting her grandparents.

“That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic,” Mulvaney said.

Asked about Mulvaney’s stance that testing was still an issue, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a news briefing that the U.S. is “doing a pretty good job” on testing. She is delusional.

Last month, 50,000 new coronavirus cases per day seemed like an alarming milestone. We are now averaging 70,000 per day according to data tracked by The Washington Post.  South Carolina, Nebraska, Utah and Oregon each broke their previous single-day records, pushing the total number of infections detected nationwide past 3.6 million.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia actually filed a frivolous lawsuit to block the mayor of Atlanta from requiring masks inside city limits. As Republicans lawmakers mock face-covering mandates, and fights over school reopening plans intensified throughout the country, the U.S. had 77,300 new confirmed cases yesterday and the death toll has surpassed 140,000.  The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced almost 2,000 new confirmed cases and at least 69 newly-reported deaths pushing South Carolina over the thousand confirmed deaths caused by COVID-19.

This chart shows COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina by the date the person actually died.

The COVID-19 prevention strategies of social distancing, face coverings and handwashing will curb the spread of the coronavirus, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“If we all did that for four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks, the COVID outbreak in the United States would really be brought to its knees,” Robert Redfield, M.D., CDC director told McKnight’s Thursday. Unfortunately, Republican politicians refuse to allow safe practices.

Previously public data has already disappeared from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website after the Trump administration suspiciously shifted control of the information to the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC regularly published data on availability of hospital beds and intensive care units across the country. But Ryan Panchadsaram, who helps run a data-tracking site called Covid Exit Strategy, said that when he tried to collect the data from the CDC this week, it had suddenly disappeared.

The L.A. Times reported on a story that perfectly exemplifies why safe oversight of nursing homes is necessary for good quality of care. Elder-care advocates said the lack of enforcement shows that state regulators abdicated their primary responsibility to police nursing homes at a critical moment. The article discusses how Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center received a report with “No deficiencies” the day before poor infection controls, short-staffing, and inadequate supplies caused a significant COVID outbreak.

The day after the “inspection”, April 8, a fleet of ambulances lined up outside Magnolia to evacuate all 83 residents after the staff refused to show up for work, terrified of the deadly infection already spreading within the facility. Similar scenarios played out across the country this past Spring, survey records show. Time and again, inspectors sent to assess nursing homes’ ability to prevent or contain the virus found no deficiencies at facilities in the midst of deadly outbreaks or about to suffer one.

At Hollywood Premier Healthcare in Los Angeles, inspectors found the facility to be in compliance on March 30. Three days later, the home had 68 confirmed cases, county records show.

State officials conducted five surveys this spring at Kingston Healthcare Center in Bakersfield, which is on a federal shortlist of the worst nursing homes in the country. Each time, the surveyors found the home in compliance with infection control protocols, even as the virus would eventually spread to 158 residents and staff, killing 21.

California Department of Public Health inspectors carried out more than 1,700 “COVID Focused Surveys” at skilled nursing facilities since late March and had issued just 14 infection control citations as a result of those visits.

The refusal or failure of the inspections to identify problems is just the latest indication of how the industry and regulators were unprepared for the coronavirus and failed to act quickly to slow its spread. Nursing homes lacked basic supplies when COVID-19 began sweeping through the facilities.

CMS said more than 5,700 COVID Focused Surveys were completed nationwide. They described the program as “part of the Trump Administration’s historic transparency efforts to ensure residents, families and the general public have information about COVID-19 in nursing homes.” But the Center for Medicare Advocacy, a nonprofit nonpartisan group noted that only 163 of the surveys — less than 3% — had cited any problems with infection control.

With tens of thousands of nursing home residents and staff already dead from the virus, “it is simply not plausible that facilities have no problems in their infection prevention and control practices,” said Toby Edelman, the center’s senior policy attorney.

The number of new cases reported in Florida alone over the past week outstrips the total count in most European nations.  You know, the ones with “socialized” medicine.  But it is not just Florida, Arizona, Texas, and South Carolina. States including Oklahoma, Alabama, and Nevada are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

We are now averaging more than 60,000 new confirmed cases per day nationwide pushing the total count since the pandemic began past 3.5 million.  Because cloth face coverings can also allow states to more safely ease stay-at-home orders and business closings, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a JAMA Live webcast Tuesday, “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really think in the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.”

“Like herd immunity with vaccines, the more individuals wear cloth face coverings in public places where they may be close together, the more the entire community is protected,” Redfield wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. President Trump wore a mask in public for the first time last weekend, nearly three months after the CDC issued guidance recommending the use of face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all Covid-19 patient information to Washington. The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.

We have so many clients complaining abut not being able to see their loved ones in local nursing homes.  Hopefully, that will change soon. Consumer advocates and other experts are pushing long-term care facilities to reconsider their restrictive visitation policies which prevents families from knowing what is going on inside the facility.

“Keeping the doors shut is harmful to the health of residents. Good policy demands more nuanced thinking about how some visitors contribute to their safety,” health care policy expert and Harvard professor David Grabowski, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania physician Jason Karlawish, MD, and law professor Allison Koffman, argued in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Monday.

However, most nursing homes cannot meet The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released guidelines that called on nursing homes to meet testing and infection control standards before allowing visitors. Facilities could stagger visits, limiting where they can be  and require them to submit to testing, temperature checks and wearing masks.

“The harm of keeping essential care partners out can itself be a great threat to well-being, as many families have learned,” they wrote. “The risks of visits can be minimized in these controlled situations, as we know more now about the spread of COVID-19. And family and friends will likely be the most vigilant of anyone in protecting their loved ones from exposure.”

My hometown of Spartanburg County has reported hundreds of new cases of COVID-19 this past wee, bringing the total to over 3,000. Statewide, DHEC announced the total number of confirmed cases approaching 60,000 with over a thousand confirmed deaths.

Meanwhile, DHEC announced the state’s first confirmed cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) caused by COVID-19. MIS-C is a rare health condition which occurs in some children and teenagers who have contracted COVID-19 or been in contact with someone infected with the virus. Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and feeling tired. Emergency warning signs of MIS-C include trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure that does not go away, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, and severe abdominal pain.

We continue to see more and more young people, especially those under 20, contracting and spreading COVID-19, and we know MIS-C is a threat to our youngest South Carolinians,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said in a statement.

MIS-C is a serious health complication linked to COVID-19 and is all the more reason why we must stop the spread of this virus. Anyone and everyone is susceptible to COVID-19 as well as additional health risks associated with it, which is why all of us must stop the virus by wearing a mask and stay six feet away from others. These simple actions are how we protect ourselves and others, including our children.”

By The New York Times | Sources: State and local health agencies and hospitals
Almost 1000 have died in each of the last three days — a three-day total that’s 56 percent higher than during the same three days last week. The number of Americans dying from the coronavirus is rising reversing the trend in the U.S. Deaths had been declining since mid-April, even as the number of confirmed new cases held fairly steady in the late spring and then surged over the past several weeks. Epidemiologists agree that the surge of new cases since re-opening early in June was so large that it will lead to more deaths.
“Several months ago, I warned of a potential tsunami if we did not take this more seriously,” Richard Cortez, an official in Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, said. “The tsunami is here.” Nationally, the number of new cases hit another record yesterday. Deaths have begun to rise in South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, California and Texas; many reported daily high in deaths this week.  In a typical fatal case, a patient dies three to five weeks after getting infected.

Over 3.1 million coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in the U.S. and the death toll is over 135,000. By Election Day, that number could be greater than 250,000, according to a new projection. The country set another record for new coronavirus cases this week with more than 60,000 infections announced.  It was the fifth national record set in nine days.  South Carolina, Florida, and Texas continue to be hot-spots in the latest surge. South Carolina averages over 1500 cases per day.  More than 5,000 South Carolinians will die as a result of COVID-19.

Wear a mask!