With COVID cases increasing in 38 states, industry leaders call on Congress to pass additional funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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 nursing homes in the U.S. could see a third spike of increasing new COVID cases due to the community spread among the general population.
Recent data released by John Hopkins 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 rose in late September for the first time in seven weeks after new cases dropped significantly throughout August and early September. According to John Hopkins, COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 62,139 cases per week in late September correlating with an uptick in nursing home cases during the week of September 27.
As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently stated, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”
“The number one factor in keeping COVID out of our nursing homes, so we can protect our vulnerable population is reducing the level of the virus in the surrounding community,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “While the support we have received from Congress, the Administration and other public health agencies have helped our facilities fight this battle, we could still see another wave of COVID cases caused by the sheer volume of rising cases in communities across the U.S. given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus.”
The report showed new COVID cases in nursing homes had declined significantly from 10,125 cases the week of July 26 —when the country experienced a growing number of cases in the Sun Belt states—but saw an uptick in new cases in the final week of September.