FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 30, 2020
Jamie Harding, 205-470-1265, JHarding@aarp.org, @jhardingAL
AARP Alabama Calls on State Leaders to Allocate Federal Funds to Combat Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
Surge in cases state-wide places vulnerable seniors at risk
MONGTOMERY—AARP Alabama State Director Candi Williams issued the following statement today, in response to the state’s efforts to control the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities:
“People age 65 and older account for at least 75% of COVID-19 deaths in Alabama to date. With cases surging across our state, AARP Alabama is concerned about the rapid spread of COVID-19 and rising number of deaths in our state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We have communicated our specific concerns, and proposed measures to address the problems, in letters to Governor Ivey, Chief Health Officer Dr. Harris, Department of Senior Services Commissioner Jean Brown, Speaker McCutcheon, Senate President Pro Tem Marsh, and all Alabama legislators.
In our letter yesterday to Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, we made clear that our leaders must make nursing homes and long-term care facilities the top priorities for allocation of CARES Act funding. Mandatory testing of all patients and staff, as well as sufficient personal protection equipment, staffing, infection control, and any other necessary measures must be funded to ensure consistent patient and staff care and safety through this pandemic.
We continue to urge the Alabama Department of Public Health to release daily public reports on the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths by facility. Total transparency is absolutely necessary to protect patients, staff, and surrounding communities if infections are to be controlled.
We are also deeply troubled that some families remain in the dark about the care that their loved one is receiving and precautions facilities are taking to ensure the health of residents and staff. As nursing homes and long-term care facilities have prohibited most visitors, it is critically important that families receive regular communication from caregivers and video calls with their loved ones.
The time to act is now. Alabama’s most vulnerable are at high risk and need immediate protection.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.