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State Must Prioritize Nursing Homes For Rapid Covid-19 Testing

Today the Massachusetts Senior Care Association sent an emergency letter to Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka suggesting the state needs to prioritize nursing home facilities immediately for rapid testing, PPE, and staffing or many more residents and staff will die.
     Here are a couple of alarming excerpts:
     “To date, hundreds of nursing facility residents have died and we are now hearing reports of caregiver deaths. Given the vulnerability of the nursing facility population, this devastation will continue to increase at alarming rates without immediate and urgent action on the part of state government.
     Specifically, we need any and all additional resources to immediately staff our nursing facilities, test all residents and staff working the frontlines, and access to enough lifesaving personal protective equipment.”
     “One forecast model based on published rates of infectious spread, hospitalizations, ICU use and death among the elderly applied to the Massachusetts nursing home population is sobering under any scenario, whether best, most likely or worst case. The projections depend on two factors: the number of skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts caring for COVID-19 residents and a facility’s ability to control the spread of this highly contagious virus within the facility. If there are any further delays in widespread, comprehensive testing and sufficient access to PPE, it would place the Commonwealth at risk of experiencing a worst- case scenario: all of our nursing facilities contracting the virus and over half of the 38,000 nursing home residents and 20% of our staff becoming infected with COVID-19, plus close to a 10% death rate among our residents. The ‘most likely’ scenario offers no solace: all skilled nursing homes have the virus in their facility, over one-third of the nursing facility population becomes infected with COVID-19, and 3% of nursing home residents die from COVID-19.”
Kate Kahn
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