Multiple local and state health officials are leveraging strike teams to help nursing home providers fighting coronavirus outbreaks in their facilities. The strategy is proven to be helpful for many states and operators, a New York Times report detailed.
“Anecdotally, we’ve seen that facilities who have had cases since April, when we first started using the strike team, have had slower, more controlled spread within their facilities,” geriatrician Anna Hicks, M.D., said in the report. Hicks was part of a rescue effort in North Carolina’s Henderson County that successfully developed a coronavirus strike team for a local nursing home.
“We have definitely seen improved coordination of care and better control of the spread in these facilities. I don’t think anyone knows 100 percent that strike teams are the reason for that but I know they’ve been helpful,” she added.
Strike teams, which can consist of local health and emergency services personnel, are resource squads dedicated to helping facilities and their workers respond to and manage outbreaks in facilities. The federal government has also sent strike teams to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspot states.
At least seven states have sent strike teams to long-term care facilities, including Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee, according to the report. Though initially coordinated by top government officials in states and health departments, local counties and cities are replicating the strike team strategy on smaller scales to manage hot spots.
“We saw how critical strike teams were in the crisis here. You’re always hopeful strike teams won’t be needed — but the point is to have them ready in case we do,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said.