MN nursing homes have 81% of COVID-19 deaths, still taking positive patients, local officials weigh in

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(Valley News Live) -- State regulators in Minnesota are saying COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital are being admitted into nursing homes. The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota has the highest percentage of deaths in long term care facilities than any other state in the nation. We spoke with nursing homes in the metro to see if they're being pressured to take residents.

Many states, including New York, came under fire for a policy requiring nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive patients. Data shows that Minnesota now has 81.4% of deaths from long term care facilities and assisted living centers.

Minnesota's Department of Health did so to lower the risk of overwhelming hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

"One of the other discrepancies Minnesota has versus some other states is that people who are from the care center that might go to the hospital and would pass away at the hospital, are still counted as a care center death," said Jon Riewer, Eventide Senior Living Communities CEO and President.

Riewer says new admits will have to quarantine for 14 days after been released from the hospital.

"I'm not sure about the rest of the state of Minnesota, but I know that at eventide and other facilities in Moorhead," said Riewer. "We're all practicing the same approach, which is a negative hospital test before they are admitted."

West of the Red River, it's a similar situation.

"There's no requirement for us to take COVID patients, and there's no requirement for us to keep COVID patients either, said Shawn Stuhaug, Bethany Retirement Living President and CEO in Fargo.

Stuhaug says they're not being forced to take COVID-positive patients.

"If a resident is COVID positive, at Bethany let's say, and they have a decline in health condition, we are allowed to work with the physician and the family to discharge them to the hospital, just like we would if they have a normal decline in health condition," said Stuhaug.

Stuhaug says you can stay up to date on the latest reported COVID-19 numbers on their website: https://www.bethanynd.org/coronavirus-information/

To see the latest COVID-19 number at Eventide click here: https://eventide.org/covid-19-updates/

COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities have claimed 33,000 lives or one-third of all deaths in the nation.