81 percent of Minnesota’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long term care facilities. That compares to 50 percent of coronavirus deaths in New York and 30 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Florida occurring in such settings. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcom says the method of data collection varies from state to state.

“We don’t know this for sure but we think it’s quite possible that many of the states are only reporting nursing home data,” said Malcom. “We have a much broader definition of long-term care facilities, including assisting living facilities, group homes, adult foster care, and mental health and substance abuse treatment centers. So I don’t believe we’re looking at apples to apple comparisons.”

Wednesday, Senator Karin Housley, chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, sent a letter to Malcom asking for more specific information regarding the Department’s response to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities.