Two federal agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), have a list of 147 nursing homes where at least one resident has contracted COVID-19. However, the Washington Post reports that the agencies refuse to make this list public.
"According to CDC data shared with CMS, 147 nursing homes in 27 states have at least one resident with COVID-19," the CMS wrote in Monday's sixth paragraph of a press release about increased nursing home inspections. When the post asked the CMS for the list, the agency referred the paper to the CDC. A CDC spokesman told the post that he was "not sure" whether the list would be "published at this time."
"It's terrible – people have the right to know where this is happening," nursing professor Charlene Harrington told the newspaper. "These nursing homes should be made public so that people have the opportunity to take people out."
Nursing homes are a particular problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the elderly are at much higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. Quarantining residents in nursing homes is difficult because most of the staff look after patients and then return home.
Some nursing homes have publicly announced when residents or employees will sign COVID-19. A public announcement enables anyone living, working, or visiting the facility to take additional precautions. It is not clear how many of the 147 facilities on the CDC list have been made public.
The Post notes that Florida officials have also come under pressure to publish a list of 19 Florida nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks. Florida officials have refused to provide the list, citing privacy laws.