Eventide reports 15 COVID-19 deaths at Moorhead location, blames Minnesota for lag in testing

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 4:10 PM CDT
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For the first time, Eventide Senior Living Communities is releasing the number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus at its locations in North Dakota and Minnesota.

While 15 residents at Eventide on Eighth died of Covid-19, the company said on Tuesday the Minnesota Department of Health contributed to the high death count.

“We believe the vast difference in numbers between Eventide Fargo and Eventide on Eighth today is due to the initial lag in testing we experienced with the Minnesota Department of Health,” Eventide Chief Executive Officer Jon Riewer said in a statement.

Eventide Fargo had six deaths and Riewer credited the state of North Dakota for doing widespread testing, which kept the death count low.

“Immediately after the confirmation of the first case at Eventide Fargo, regular widespread testing of residents and staff began. The Minnesota Department of Health did not provide widespread testing at Eventide on Eighth until May 13, even though the first case was reported on April 17,” Riewer said.

The only Eventide location with a death besides the facilities in Fargo and Moorhead was Eventide Downtown Care Center in Devils Lake where one person died, according to its website.

These numbers were released as part of a push by the Trump Administration to make long-term care facilities more transport.

However, LeadingAge Minnesota said the opposite occurred.

“We feel that this is an urgent matter because inaccurate data can create a lot of unnecessary fear and panic for residents and family members during this time of a global pandemic,” Jodie Boyne, Vice President of Public Affairs for LeadingAge MN, said.

There have been reports of inaccurate numbers listed on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website on nursing homes.

Facilities are required to submit their COVID-19 numbers, including deaths, to CMS. The data were released last week.

“We've come to understand that while some providers entered the data accurately, what CMS then reported out was not reflective of what was entered in,” Boyne said.

In Minnesota out of more than 1,200 deaths, 968 were of people living in long-term care facilities. In North Dakota the number is much lower. Fifty-three out of 72 deaths were at those locations.

“What the [CMS] reports and an individual state may be reporting...the states being far more accurate because states were collecting the data, at least in North Dakota, from day one,” Shelly Peterson, president of the North Dakota Long-Term Care Association, said.

Villa Maria is reporting 15 deaths, while Rosewood on Broadway has seven, according to SMP Health System.

Bethany on 42nd had two deaths while Bethany on University had four, according to its chief executive officer.

In the United States, there have been 31,782 deaths at long-term care facilities.