11,000 Deaths: Ravaged Nursing Homes Plead for More Testing
NEW YORK (AP) — After two months and more than 11,000 deaths that have made the nation’s nursing homes some of the most terrifying places to be during the coronavirus crisis, most of them still don’t have access to enough tests to help control outbreaks among their frail, elderly residents.
Neither the federal government nor the leader in nursing home deaths, New York, has mandated testing for all residents and staff. An industry group says only about a third of the 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. have ready access to tests that can help isolate the sick and stop the spread. And homes that do manage to get a hold of tests often rely on luck and contacts.
Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association, which represents long-term care facilities, says “only a very small percentage” of residents and staff have been tested because the federal and state governments have not made nursing homes the top priority.
“We feel like we’ve been ignored,” Parkinson said. “Certainly now that the emphasis has gone away from hospitals to where the real battle is taking place in nursing homes, we should be at a priority level one.”
Originally published in Associated Press.