LeadingAge on Wednesday urged federal policymakers “to address the needs of older adults living in other congregate and community-based settings” in addition to the needs of nursing home residents when making plans to fight coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We need to do all we can to protect older adults and those who support them in all places where they live and gather,” CEO Katie Smith Sloan said in a statement.
In the meantime, the association “strongly encourage[s]” members to use resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to review their infection control and emergency preparedness processes.
LeadingAge represents more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations, among them assisted living operators, affordable senior housing providers and nursing home operators. The association’s comments followed an announcement Wednesday by CMS that effective immediately and until further notice, state surveyors will focus their nursing home and hospital inspections exclusively on issues related to infection control and other serious health and safety threats.
Also on Wednesday, as the U.S. death toll from the virus reached 11, Congress agreed on a bill that would provide $7.8 billion in new emergency funding to fight COVID-19. The House passed the bill, which now awaits a Senate vote.
“This legislation will deliver an important boost in funding to fight coronavirus, and the Senate should pass it this week so President Trump can sign it into law as soon as possible,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said.
Health officials said the latest U.S. death from the disease was a 71-year-old California resident with underlying health conditions. In San Diego at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Spring Conference, President and CEO Brian Jurutka said NIC saw a 100-room drop from last Friday, when registrations totaled approximately 1,900. Fears of the virus ultimately could result in a 10% decline in registrations, based on peak room nights, he estimated.
Bottles of hand sanitizers adorned the check-in desks at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, and handshakes often were replaced with other forms of greeting.
“The important thing is, we’re following CDC guidelines, as is the Marriott,” Jurutka said.
Also on Wednesday, the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living made available a recording of its March 3 webinar about COVID-19, and the Florida Senior Living Association announced plans for a one-hour Friday webinar on applying universal precautions to a new respiratory illness and state-specific reporting guidance.