Wyden, Casey Release New Report Showing Nursing Home Rates of Death and Infection are Rising Rapidly

Washington, D.C. – As the nation enters what experts predict will be the most severe months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of COVID-19 deaths and infections among residents and workers in nursing homes is rapidly rising.

Today, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging, are releasing a report that shows that the already dire situation in nursing homes is worsening.

·       In November, more than 15 nursing home residents died from COVID-19 per hour, with 19 residents dying each hour during the week of November 22, 2020, the most recent week reported.

·       The number of weekly COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents has increased 133 percent since Labor Day, and 96 percent among nursing home workers during the same period.

·       Workforce shortages have increased since Labor Day: In November, one in six nursing homes nationwide reported that they do not have a sufficient workforce.

These new findings serve as a warning for what is to come if Congress does not come together to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes.

“It’s with great sadness that we are once again giving a grim update on the toll that COVID-19 is continuing to take on nursing homes. It’s abundantly clear that inaction has contributed to the loss of more than 104,000 mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends and neighbors who lived and worked in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country,” said Senators Wyden and Casey. “Experts are predicting that we are heading into the most severe months of the COVID-19 pandemic, marred by climbing caseloads and increasing stress on our Nation’s health care system. We are once again calling on our colleagues to work with us to pass a comprehensive COVID relief bill to bring urgently needed help to nursing homes, residents and workers.”

Since the beginning of this public health crisis, Senators Wyden and Casey have been sounding the alarm that the Trump Administration has not done enough to stop the virus and its devastating effects on nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In addition to calling for increased transparency and data on COVID-19 in nursing homes, they also released two reports: The Cost of Inaction: 11 Deaths an Hour and COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: How the Trump Administration Failed Residents and Workers. Both reports provided a series of recommendations outlining the urgent actions that are needed to address the crisis in nursing homes. These include ensuring comprehensive data collection, providing states and nursing homes with funding, supplying adequate PPE and testing, investing in home and community-based services, supporting nursing home workers with premium pay, overtime and other essential benefits and upholding resident rights and resuming visitation safely.

Read the report here.

A web version of this release is here.