Nursing homes in Minnesota ready as coronavirus concerns grow

There have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota. However, just like the flu, the disease presents a bigger danger for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

That risk has many nursing homes in the state thinking ahead and strategizing on how to deal with the illness.

We spoke with an association that represents hundreds of nursing home and assisted living facilities across Minnesota they are in constant contact with health officials and are prepared to limit visitors to stop infections if needed.

"If it does become a viable thing in Minnesota, it will enter those buildings at some point in time, just because there are visitors," explained Doug Beardsley, who is the vice president of Member Services Care Providers of Minnesota. "So, unless it's truly an epidemic, where no visiting is advised by the health department or the CDC, you just have to be on top of things and aware of it."

Nursing home administrators say it is tricky to differentiate between the symptoms of coronavirus and the flu because they are similar. Right now, there has been an uptick in influenza at many nursing homes, so health officials are also on guard for those cases worsening.