Chesterton Tribune



Nursing home industry concerned about risk of new C19 outbreaks

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Two nursing home advocacy organizations are warning the nation’s governors that long term care facilities are vulnerable to imminent outbreaks of COVID-19.

In a letter sent to the National Governors Association, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) that major spikes in new COVID-19 cases in several states, along with shortages of personal protection equipment and delays in obtaining test results, are putting nursing homes at grave risk.

The letter notes that several independent studies have indicated that the level of COVID-19 cases in a community is “the top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes.”

“Given this, the long term care industry is very concerned these major outbreaks in cases will lead to a dramatic increase in cases in nursing homes and assisted living communities,” according to the two groups.

Specifically, AHCA and NCAL are urging the governors to expedite both lab processing time and a solution for on-site testing with reliable and rapid results. Nearly nine in 10 long care term facilities have reported that obtaining test results back from lab companies is taking two or more days. “The amount of time it is taking to receive testing results is hurting the ability of long term facilities to fight the virus,” the two groups said. “Regular testing of nursing home and assisted living staff is a vital step in controlling the spread of COVID-19 but is not effective without obtaining timely results.”

AHCA and NCAL also are requesting additional support for PPE supplies, especially n95 masks. Roughly 20 percent of nursing homes are reporting that they either do not have adequate PPE or have less than a week’s supply. “Given the fact we are several months into the response of this pandemic and the lack of PPE supplies is still an issue is very concerning,” the two groups said. “We request governors and state public health agencies help secure and direct more PPE supplies to nursing homes and assisted living communities.”

Finally, AHCA and NCAL are asking state public health agencies to work in closer coordination with long term care facilities. “Providers are eager to welcome back family and friends to our facilities, but the health and safety of our residents and staff will always be our top priority,” the two groups said. “With major spikes in cases in several states, we are very concerned about re-opening long term care facilities. In order to protect our residents and caregivers, state public health agencies must work closely with long term care providers to ensure they have the supplies, testing, and staff to re-open safely.”



Posted 7/15/2020




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