PBHS professor urges action to rescue at risk nursing home residents

Dr. Tamara Kontezka, Professor of Public Health Sciences, told the Senate Special Subcommittee on Aging that predominantly Black nursing homes have had the worst coronavirus toll and need help now. “Nursing homes serving predominantly non-White residents are more likely to be located in predominantly non-White neighborhoods and to draw staff from those neighborhoods,” Konetzka told senators, in online video testimony. “As these are the neighborhoods and the people being most affected by the pandemic, nursing homes in these areas are also most at risk,” she noted, adding that an “emergency influx of resources” is needed.

Konetzka looked at COVID-19 infections in more than 5,500 nursing homes in Illinois and 11 other states and found that nursing homes with the lowest percentage of White residents were more than twice as likely to have a coronavirus case or death. Nearly half of all coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois have occurred in nursing homes. In Illinois and other states, African Americans are contracting the disease and dying at a disproportionately high rate in the general population and in nursing homes.

Read the full article and Kontezka's findings and recommendations at https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/5/21/21266422/tamara-konetzka-nursing-homes-coronavirus-senate-special-subcommittee-agin-university-of-chicago. See also the Chicago Sun-Times editorial discussing Konetzka's testimony, "Our national shame: COVID-19 in nursing homes" https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/5/25/21267741/nursing-homes-coronavirus-deaths-congress-racial-disparity-veterans-tamara-konetzka-editorial



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