The Hawaii Department of Health for the first time is publishing the names of long-term care facilities that have reported COVID-19 cases among staff and residents.

Twenty-one facilities are listed as having reported cases to DOH within the past 28 days.

Kupuna advocates have long called for more detailed information about the cases found at various types of elderly care facilities and care homes. They say more testing and contact tracing is needed at care homes because the risk for coronavirus-related death is highest among the elderly.

Since the list will be updated weekly on Fridays at noon, it’s not always up to date. An employee at Hale Kūʻike Pali adult residential care home tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.  That facility is not on the list.

Keali‘i Lopez, director of Hawaii AARP, says she wants to know how many cases there are in each facility and whether or not they are patients, staff, or contractors who visit the facility. She’d also like to see the state publish information on hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19 in long term care facilities.

“We need to know this information in a timely manner so that the people in charge can make decisions on how to react, and prevent more cases and so family members can be notified and make intelligent decisions about the care of their loved ones,” she said.

The last time the Department of Health provided information about how COVID-19 affected long term care homes was in late August, when they reported 94 cases across 28 different facilities. Those cases resulted in 27 hospitalizations and six deaths.

After Civil Beat reported those figures, they disappeared from the daily news digest provided by the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center.

A screenshot from the Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website shows most of Hawaii’s COVID-19 related fatalities have been among seniors. Department of Health

The greatest proportion of COVID-19 related fatalities in Hawaii have occurred among people older than 70.

Health officials say Hawaii’s long-term care clusters have often occurred after caregivers unwittingly introduced the virus to smaller care home households after contracting it in the community.

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