Elkhorn nursing home Life Care Center confirms 68 COVID-19 cases

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 6:28 PM CDT
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Elkhorn nursing and rehabilitation center officials told 6 News on Thursday they have confirmed that two-thirds of the residents there are COVID-19 positive.

Earlier this week, there were 12 cases at the Life Care Center of Elkhorn. 6 News was told Thursday afternoon that number had ballooned to 53 with two of the four wings containing residents in isolation.

On Thursday evening, the total case count was updated to 68, with 51 of 77 residents and 17 of 39 staff members testing positive.

The numbers here are concerning. Of the 107 Nebraska COVID-19 deaths, 75 are from nursing homes — that’s 70%, well above the national average of 50% for states.

Since visitors haven't been allowed into nursing homes for close to two months,

when it comes to staying connected. In most cases, it involves talking through windows, even for birthdays.

Since many people can be infected and not know, it makes a vulnerable population even more vulnerable.

As of Thursday, Nebraska has 82 long-term care facilities with positive cases.

“We work closely with the population at high-risk,” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said Thursday. “Shelly Schwedhelm (executive director of Emergency Preparedness at Nebraska Medicine) with the Biocontainment Unit visits with many of them to share best practices. She's up to 27 facilities, I think, to help them do more."

Nationwide, more than 10,000


The Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash, was

. Local news reports tied 37 deaths to the facility.

In Elkhorn, family and friends are frustrated they're not getting more timely data and wonder whether the staff is protected enough.

If they can't hug a resident, they would like -- at the very least -- to wrap their minds around information on what's being done to protect their loved ones, they say.

The Life Care Center of Elkhorn said it planned to test all residents this week.

Ricketts said he plans on Friday to address what happens from the state's point of view when it comes to investigating a coronavirus death in long-term care facilities.