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AARP Massachusetts Sends Letter to Commonwealth Legislative Leadership urging COVID-19 data transparency

Massachusetts State House

May 26, 2020

Letter from AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa and State President Sandra Harris to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka regarding:

HOUSE BILL NO. 4667 - AN ACT RELATIVE TO LONG TERM CARE FACILITY AND ELDER HOUSING COVID-19 REPORTING

SENATE BILL NO. 2708 – AN ACT ADDRESSING COVID-19 DATA COLLECTION AND DISPARITIES IN TREATMENT

Dear Speaker DeLeo and President Spilka:

Today, on behalf of the 775,000 AARP members in Massachusetts, we are writing to urge you to redouble your efforts to prioritize the needs of those living in long term care residences and senior housing locations. We believe transparency and notice to the public is critical for public health.

Moreover, caregivers and family members need and deserve to have information on COVID-19 positive cases and deaths for their own health decisions and as they consider possible next steps and interventions for their loved ones.

We appreciate the efforts both the House and Senate have made by passing bills to address shortfalls in the current reporting system, but the number of deaths for older Commonwealth residents indicates that time is of the essence to take additional steps and ensure the public has the information they need.

As you know, the average age of deaths in confirmed COVID-19 cases is 82. Yesterday, there were 3,755 confirmed deaths in long term care facilities and more than 19,000 residents and staff have tested positive. These numbers do not reflect those living in senior housing locations.

We urge you to address the above-listed concerns immediately as caregivers and family members need and deserve to have this information for their own health decisions and as they consider possible next steps and interventions for their loved ones.

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