A new report published by The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) shows that U.S. nursing homes and assisted living facilities are experiencing a worrying spike in new coronavirus cases. The association represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and care facilties across the U.S. and they provide care to around five million people. The data shows that the number of cases in nursing homes steadily declined since late May but those gains have been eliminated by community transmission among the general population. Deaths had also fallen considerably and they have also started climbing slowly in recent weeks.
The number of confirmed cases in U.S. nursing homes fell from 9,072 on May 31 to 5,468 on June 21. They have now started climbing steadily, however, reaching 8,628 by July 19. The development is extremely worrying considering that several studies have found that Covid-19 has the most serious outcome in elderly patients who experience the highest rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and death. Indeed, Covid-19 devastated nursing homes right around the world earlier this year and it accounted for 34 percent of total U.S. deaths in late May.
AHCA/NCAL has called on public health officials to take immediate action to protect bursing homes, expecially in areas experiencing a higher level of new Covid-19 cases. AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson has urged Congress to set aside $100 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund and for a large portion of that sum to be allocated to assist nursing homes and assisted living communities. He said that "without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will end up repeating the same mistakes from several months ago" before adding that "we need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities in this upcoming legislation".