Two Democratic senators are warning Congress to come together to resolve the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes after a report found that more than 15 residents died per hour from the disease in November.
The report was released late last week by Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Ron Wyden (OR) as a followup to earlier analysis released in September and July. The investigation also found that the number of weekly coronavirus deaths among residents has increased 133% since Labor Day, while deaths among workers have increased 96%.
“Now, as the United States counts more than 104,000 lives lost to the pandemic in long-term care facilities, inaction is tantamount to a death sentence for thousands more,” Casey and Wyden wrote.
Findings also showed that the coronavirus infection rate among nursing home residents increased by 181% between early September and late November, while cases among staff rose 184% during the same period. The report suggested that the rising COVID-19 infection rates could mean rising death rates in nursing homes in the near future.
Additionally, findings showed that one in six nursing homes nationwide reported they didn’t have sufficient workforce during the month of November.
“America needs a national strategy to save lives in nursing homes, including a sufficient supply of PPE, ample access to testing, resources for vaccine distribution, funding for strike teams and adequate workforce supports, and accountability measures to uphold resident rights and permit safe visits with family,” the senators wrote.
“Nursing home residents and workers cannot afford to wait to get the help they desperately need. Congress must come together to pass a comprehensive COVID relief package. The lives of seniors, people with disabilities and frontline workers depend on it,” they concluded.