After months of declining to release COVID-19 data from individual long-term care facilities, Indiana is building a public database of the information. It plans to release the data later this month.
All of Indiana’s neighboring states, and a growing number of states across the country, have made similar data public. But so far, Indiana has only released statewide totals for COVID-19 cases and deaths at these facilities.
Officials say now is the time to release more information because the state has resources to better analyze it. Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, says mitigation and prevention remain the top priorities.
"As we have all learned, responding to this pandemic requires us to continually evaluate our approaches and when appropriate change them," Rusyniak says. "This is one of those times."
Nursing homes account for a large percentage of overall COVID-19 deaths in Indiana and other states.
AARP Indiana was one of the groups calling on the state to release COVID-19 data for individual facilities. It said consumers should be able to see where cases and deaths are occurring.
Wednesday, the organization released a statement praising the state's decision. It called the decision "a strong step toward clearing up the confusion stemming from data provided by different agencies."
The organization continued, "it is our hope that this new dashboard will bring more transparency to the difficulties we have seen at our long-term care facilities during this health crisis."
The state says it will take about a month to compile and build the database.
Monday, the state health department released data showing that more than 5,300 Hoosiers residing in long-term care facilities have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 1,100 have died.