Coronavirus: dozens of nursing homes report infection clusters
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    Coronavirus: dozens of nursing homes report infection clusters

    Credit: Belga

    Nursing homes in Belgium are reporting an increasing number of coronavirus infections following increased testing among residents.

    At least 20 nursing homes in Flanders have reported internal outbreaks of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the Flemish Agency for Care and Health told VRT.

    Ten residents in a private nursing home in the Flemish town of Humbeek have tested positive for the virus while “between 20 to 30” are displaying symptoms.

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    The care centre, which houses a total of 135 residents, has also reported four deaths and two patients currently in a critical condition, as well as infections among staff, including in management.

    A nursing home in Bruges has so far recorded seven deaths from residents who contracted the virus, and said there are currently 45 residents and seven staff members infected.

    In Brussels, five out of seven residents of a Schaerbeek nursing home who tested positive for Covid-19 died at the weekend, while the two others recovered.

    In Wallonia, a government report revealed that nursing home residents made up a third of the French-speaking region’s total coronavirus deaths.

    “We provide them with help and assistance,” Joris Moonens, spokesperson for the Flemish Agency for Care and Health said. “Fortunately, a large number of residential care centres currently indicate that they have a relatively small number of infections.”

    The hike in the number of confirmed cases in nursing homes comes after the government increased the national testing criteria for the virus to include suspected cases in nursing homes.

    After this, the federal government said it would move to test up to 20,000 symptomatic nursing homes residents throughout the country.

    “This is urgently needed for the safety of health care providers and residents,” Federal Philippe De Backer, charged with leading a task force to increase nationwide testing, told Bruzz. “[The testing] will be done efficiently so we can solve the situation as quickly as possible.”

    As part of the increased testing efforts, nursing homes in Brussels received 2,054 tests, while Wallonia and Flanders got 6,597 and 11,243, respectively, with an additional 106 going to the German-speaking Community of Belgium.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times