A leading industry advocate has warned the nation’s governors that regional spikes in COVID-19 cases could lead to new outbreaks in eldercare facilities unless precautions are taken.

“We are very concerned this trend will lead to a dramatic increase in cases in long-term care facilities,” the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C.

Recent data shows that the main factor in nursing home outbreaks is the level of COVID-19 activity in the surrounding community. With many facilities hoping to reopen to visitors, the industry requires support to help keep the virus in check, said AHCA / NCAL. The organization urged governors to direct state public health agencies to do the following:

  • Expedite lab processing time and a solution for on-site testing with reliable and rapid results.
  • Provide additional support on personal protective equipment supplies; especially N-95 masks.
  • Work in close coordination with long-term care providers on reopening facilities to visitors.

“Nursing homes and assisted living communities cannot stop the virus by ourselves – not without testing, personal protective equipment, staff support and funding, and not without support from the public health sector,” AHCA / NCAL concluded.