With nearly 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, the nation braces as the disease surges in the Sun Belt, where Arizona, Florida, and Texas are now considered the epicenters of the illness. A recent article in The Atlantic contends that despite the fact that one in five nursing homes around the country has at least one death, we do not have to repeat the same mistakes which have contributed to almost 60,000 residents and nursing home staff losing their lives.
The article, written by Olga Khazan, highlights the fact that Hong Kong was able to learn from its 2003 outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and has now reported no deaths from COVID-19, despite its population of 7.5 million. In contrast, one nursing home in New Jersey has reported 82 deaths. Hong Kong’s learnings include having a designated, government-trained infection control officer at nursing homes, and maintaining at least a one-month supply of face masks and other PPE in each facility. Meanwhile, according to CMS data, 11 percent of nursing homes in Arizona, Florida, and Texas currently don’t have a one-week supply of N95 masks on hand.
July 23, 2020 – C. St. John