A new report released by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) compiles a state-by-state breakdown of the positive COVID-19 test rate and number of nursing homes in those states using John Hopkins University data. The report also includes data, released July 30, 2020 by CMS, from required federal reporting by nursing homes across the country on current supply of PPE (N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns). 

According to the report, there are 33 states with a positive test rate of over 5% since July 26, that include Arizona (22.7%), Mississippi (21.5%), Florida (19.2%), Alabama (19.1%), and Idaho (17.6%), among others. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “[they] will begin requiring, rather than recommending, that all nursing homes in states with a 5% positivity rate or greater test all nursing home staff each week.” 

“Governors and state health agencies, especially in these 33 states, need to take immediate action to protect our seniors and healthcare heroes by ensuring long-term facilities have adequate supplies of PPE (including N95 masks) and staff support as well as facilitating expedited test results for our residents and caregivers,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO, AHCA/NCAL. “We also need members of the public to do their part to help reduce spread by wearing a mask in public and continuing to practice social distancing. We all have a duty to defend our nation’s greatest generation and their essential caregivers.”

AHCA/NCAL, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, sent a letter two weeks ago to the National Governors Association (NGA) warning states of imminent outbreaks at nursing homes and assisted living facilities given the major spikes in new cases in several states across the US, combined with what they say is “serious PPE shortages and significant delays (up to five days or more) in getting testing results for long-term care residents and caregivers.”

“The continued shortage of vital PPE supplies for nursing homes across the US is a major concern especially for states with recent spikes in new COVID cases,” said Parkinson.

The states with nursing homes that lack a one-week supply of certain PPE items include Arizona (N95 Masks – 14%; Gowns – 11%); Florida (N95 Masks – 14%, Gowns – 8%); and Mississippi (N95 Masks – 14%, Gowns – 12%).

Source: AHCA/NCAL, Johns Hopkins University