With nursing homes and assisted-living facilities among the most-vulnerable places during the coronavirus pandemic, industry officials called Wednesday for the federal government to set up an “emergency response fund” and for government agencies to provide more help with testing for the disease.
The National Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living said that such an emergency fund would be similar to money that the federal government has provided to hospitals amid the coronavirus.
“Our dedicated and heroic caregivers are working around the clock to keep our residents safe. But they need help,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, said in a prepared statement. “Our profession has been sounding the alarm for weeks and weeks, but we have largely been forgotten by the public health sector. If we are not made a top priority, this situation will get worse with the most vulnerable in our society being lost.”
With COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, particularly dangerous to seniors and people with underlying health conditions, nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida have seen cases and deaths steadily increase.
As of Wednesday morning, 394 residents or staff members of long-term care facilities had died in Florida. The state has taken steps such as sending in teams of National Guard members to test people for the virus.