Indiana officials add 120 nursing home deaths to virus toll

Indiana health officials added 19 confirmed coronavirus-related fatalities to the state’s death toll on Monday as a new order from the governor eased many of the business restrictions that were imposed in late March.

Updated statistics released by the Indiana State Department of Health also added 120 deaths among nursing home residents to the previous statewide total released a week earlier.

The new tallies show 420 COVID-19 nursing home resident deaths, or about 36% of the 1,151 total statewide deaths. The statistics, however, don’t specify when the newly reported nursing home deaths occurred.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials have refused to identify nursing homes with outbreaks, despite complaints from relatives of home residents about a lack of communication about illnesses and deaths. State officials maintain those facilities face federal and state requirements to notify the families about their COVID-19 status.

Almost 75% of Indiana’s deaths have been among people 70 and older as elderly people and those with serious health troubles living in nursing homes are among the most at-risk from COVID-19 infections.

The state’s announcement of additional nursing home deaths comes as several states hard-hit by the pandemic have extended some measure of protection against civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

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