The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide, has warned of imminent outbreaks of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities given the major spikes in new cases in several states, combined with ongoing shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) and significant delays in getting testing results for long-term care residents and caregivers. It’s drawing attention to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the percentage of nursing homes without vital PPE, including N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns.
Tabulating data on nursing homes with less than a one-week supply of N95 masks, the CMS found New Hampshire with an alarming rate (49%), followed by New Mexico (43%), then West Virginia and Maine (both 34%). Maine, however, has a low 7-day positive test rate for COVID-19 infection of 0.7%, whereas the 7-day positive test rate for New Hampshire is 2.3%; for New Mexico it’s 4% and for West Virginia, 3%. The CMS lists New Jersey (with a 7-day positive test rate of 1.6%) as having 16% of nursing homes with less than a one-week supply of N95 masks. The percentage in the Garden State of those with less than a one-week supply of surgical masks is 9% and gowns, 12%. Florida, which has a 7-day positive test rate of 19.2%, is listed as having 14% of nursing homes with less than a one-week supply of N95 masks, 7% for surgical masks and 8% for gowns.
A consultants’ report, released June 3, on the fast spread of the virus in New Jersey nursing homes underlined a shortage of PPE as a factor that contributed to the spread. Nursing home advocates in the Garden State have said that a PPE shortage is a continuing concern for them.