Nursing Homes, After Seeing Improvements, Now Face A Fresh COVID-19 Threat
Nursing homes across the country are bracing for a dark winter as rising coronavirus infections appear to be reversing trends that had showed an improved outlook for the nation’s most vulnerable, an ABC News review of state-by-state numbers reveals.
Last week, one of the nation’s largest nursing home industry advocacy groups sent out an alert about the “threat of a third spike,” saying many providers “still need essential resources such as personal protective equipment and testing.” The American Health Care Association said that one in five facilities were dangerously low on items like gloves and hand sanitizer.
“The shortages actually became more grave as the summer went on,” according to a recent study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group cited in the industry alert, “with three times as many nursing homes reporting they were completely out of masks, gowns and eye protection in late August, compared with mid-July.”
In Wisconsin, where overall coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all rising rapidly, the percentage of fatalities occurring in nursing homes is also going back up. After dropping to as low as 15% of all deaths in August, that rate doubled to 30% in October.