43 percent Of New Cases In Nursing Homes From Midwest States
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a report today showing new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes in the U.S. due to the community spread among the general population.
Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 61 percent to 391,527 new cases the week of October 18. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.
The report also showed COVID-related deaths in nursing homes have risen slightly. Nursing home residents are typically older adults with multiple chronic conditions, making them most vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents of long term care facilities account for only eight percent of the nation’s cases, yet 40 percent of its deaths. While mortality rates have decreased compared to the spring due to a better understanding of the virus, better treatments, and government resources to help reduce spread, industry leaders remain deeply concerned that the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities will ultimately lead to an increasing number of deaths.
With rising new COVID cases across the country, Parkinson said Congress must prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents during the lame duck session starting next week.
Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April has already been distributed and Parkinson said health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue the response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges. The financial aid is crucial in helping long term care facilities acquire personal protective equipment, conduct regular testing, and hire additional staff or reward current caregivers for their heroic efforts.
“Congress must fulfill its duty. Health care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, are already experiencing an uptick in new COVID cases, and they need every possible resource heading into what promises to be a challenging winter,” stated Parkinson. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”
For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus.