The number of coronavirus deaths and cases among facility’s residents and workers is now publicly available on the Nursing Home Compare website, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday afternoon.  

“We’re putting it up in a way so that the data can be used by a variety of users with different levels of skill for analyzing data,” a CMS spokesman said on background during a call with reporters. 

“As [CMS Administrator Seema Verma] said it will be usable for individuals that just want to see what happened in a specific nursing home or just a nursing home around their area or their town. It will also be in a downloadable form for more experienced researchers and more complex analytics,” they added. 

The effort comes after CMS required providers to report any COVID-19 cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Healthcare Safety Network. The agency released the first round of early data on Monday, which showed that about 26,000 residents and 450 workers have died from the disease, and overall, 60,000 residents and 34,4000 workers have gotten sick. CMS said at the time that 80% of facilities submitted data. 

Updated numbers from Thursday, however, revealed that about 88% of the nation’s nursing homes now have reported their COVID-19 data. There are a total of about 95,000 confirmed cases and 32,000 deaths. 

“I want to be very clear though that this is not an increase of 6,000 deaths in a few days. This probably represents more nursing homes that are reporting data,” Verma said, noting that some providers may now also be adding historical data. “These numbers are going to move over the next couple weeks.” 

 The agency said that “a vast majority of facilities” are submitting data correctly and the most common errors are from providers who enter cumulative data instead of new information. Representatives added that they’re working with providers to correct any errors. 

“Our commitment to transparency overrides some of these errors,” the spokesman said. 

Following the release of data Monday, two senators criticized CMS for releasing “incomplete data” on COVID-19 in nursing homes.”

“The data is shockingly sparse, and lacks reporting by almost one in five nursing homes. Nursing homes were not required to submit data on cases and deaths before May 1, meaning we may never know the full scope of this tragedy,” the lawmakers said in a statement. 

Five-star rating linked to cases

Officials also released details on its early findings that suggest lower-rated facilities more likely to have large numbers of COVID-19 cases than facilities with five-star ratings. 

A spokesman said they came to those findings after looking at facilities with large amounts of coronavirus cases and deaths and their percentile across the spectrum of all nursing homes. 

“Facilities that were in the highest percentile — so facilities with greater than 90% or 95% of cases and deaths per thousand than other facilities — nursing homes with a one-star inspection rating were more likely to have a large outbreak than facilities with a five-star inspection rating,” the spokesman explained.

“That means facilities with a poor compliance history or poor survey history are more likely to have larger outbreaks,” they added, while noting the results are preliminary and an early analysis. 

That contradicts findings from several studies that indicate there’s no meaningful relationship between a nursing homes’ rating and the probability of it having at least one COVID-19 case.