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More than 500 Missouri nursing home residents died of COVID-19, federal report says

More than 500 Missouri nursing home residents died of COVID-19, federal report says

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ST. LOUIS — COVID-19 has killed 502 residents and seven employees of federally licensed nursing homes in Missouri, according to federal data released Sunday.

At least 2,163 other residents and 1,314 employees of federally licensed nursing homes in Missouri have been infected by the virus as of July 19, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The agency collects reports on COVID-19 infections from 15,000 federally licensed nursing homes across the country, including 522 in Missouri.

The death toll in Missouri is up by 255 since the first CMS tally on June 4, when the federal agency counted at least 253 nursing home residents and one employee dead of the virus .

The increase is attributable in part to more facilities reporting data to CMS on coronavirus infections going back months — but the disease also has continued to infect and kill residents at nursing homes in recent weeks.

Fourteen residents of Heritage Care Center at 4401 North Hanley Road in St. Louis, for example, have died of COVID-19 since July 5.

The home, which reported 31 infections in late May, is among the hardest hit by the disease in Missouri. Twenty-three residents and five employees there have died of COVID-19 since.

In all, roughly 200 federally licensed nursing homes in the state have been affected by the coronavirus, meaning they have reported that at least one resident or employee has tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

NHC HealthCare in Maryland Heights, where 33 residents died of COVID-19 and 74 others were infected, has seen the highest death toll of any of the facilities identified by CMS. At least 24 employees at the home have been infected .

The CMS data, meanwhile, only hints at the toll the virus has taken on facilities housing residents in need of critical care. It includes only nursing homes licensed by the agency, and does not include assisted-living communities and other types of residential care facilities, as St. Louis County and Missouri state data have.

At least 375 residents of 73 care homes in St. Louis County have died of the virus, according to a June 25 report by the county department of health. The disease has infected 1,617 other residents.

The cases at the facilities account for roughly 67% of the COVID-19 deaths in the county and about 23% of infections in the county.

A spokesman for the county health department said a report that includes virus infections and deaths through July will be released by Friday.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services does not report the number of residents or employees at state-licensed care homes that have been infected or killed by COVID-19.

The state only reports the number of state-licensed facilities in each Missouri county that have reported at least one infection. That includes 103 facilities in St. Louis County, 23 in St. Louis, 29 in St. Charles County and 10 in Jefferson County.

Nationally, more than 40,274 residents of federally licensed nursing homes have died of the coronavirus and 152,281 other residents have been infected, CMS reports.

In Illinois, 2,601 residents of federally licensed nursing homes have died of the virus and more than 9,943 other residents have been infected.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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