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Silent Killer

Published on May 9th, 2020

McKnight’s reported that national chain HCR Manor Care had 70% of their employees and up to half of their residents were found to be COVID-19 infected but were asymptomatic at the time, says the chain’s medical director. Gloth said nearly 1,500 positive cases of COVID-19 have been discovered by the 222-facility chain, which has a daily census of nearly 25,000. The mortality rate has been close to 15%.

The novel coronavirus is “the silent killer which we’ve learned so much about but still have so much to learn,” said HCR ManorCare Medical Director Mark Gloth, M.D., on a conference call with the media. “It is virtually impossible for us to keep it out of our facilities. In fact, we know it’s highly likely we’ll see it in our centers” when it’s already seen in the surrounding community.

“What is particularly distressing, even beyond this, is that even when we have done full in-house testing for employees and patients, we have seen that up to 70% of our healthcare providers who have been tested as positive were completely asymptomatic,” Gloth said. “And anywhere from 30% to 50% of  patients who were asymptomatic patients did not present with any overt symptoms that would have suggested they had this deadly and daunting virus.”

“There isn’t a day that goes by when we aren’t concerned about when our supplies will dry up, especially when we see states opening up and doing elective procedures that will need the PPE. We find it especially frustrating when states mandate that all personnel should be in full PPE, without thinking about where these supplies are coming from, or supplying resources.”

He also said HCR ManorCare is able to get “about 10% of what we really need in our facilities” when it comes to test kits. Gowns remain the biggest PPE difficulty to get: “That keeps me awake at night.”

“These are daunting times even for those who are battle-tested and with lots of experience,” Gloth said. “It’s scary for healthcare workers and physicians.”

 

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