Sen Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Senior living workers would be among those potentially benefiting from a “Heroes Fund” proposed by Senate Democrats on Wednesday.

The fund would include a $25,000 pay increase for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which backers said is the equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour, from the start of the public health emergency until Dec. 31, and it also would include a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

Among those eligible would be workers in long-term care and other healthcare settings, grocery stores, transit and other settings.

“The next coronavirus-response package Congress passes must honor the dignity of their work by including this Pandemic Premium Pay proposal to compensate our frontline heroes and mandatory safety requirements to keep them safe on the job,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), one of the six Democrats who introduced the plan.

Brown’s office told McKnight’s Senior Living that the proposal is “meant to be inclusive of all workers,” including those in senior living, although details would need to be negotiated with Republicans.

The Senate is adjourned until Monday after not voting Thursday on a $250 billion addition to the small business loan program that was part of the CARES Act signed into law last month. 

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • The Virginia Department of Health has refused a request from LeadingAge Virginia for a daily list of assisted living communities and nursing homes where there have been COVID-19 outbreaks, according to the Virginia Mercury.  Knowing where the outbreaks are could reduce the risk of disease transmission, Dana Parsons, LeadingAge Virginia’s vice president and legislative counsel, told the media outlet.
  • Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, M.D., on Wednesday ordered all long-term care and congregate housing facilities to report any positive COVID-19 test results as well as deaths or suspected deaths related to COVID-19 in residents or employees to the state within 24 hours. Fifteen percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have involved long-term care facilities.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new initiative Thursday which will find the city deploying a rapid mobile testing team to assisted living communities, nursing homes and respiratory hospitals where residents, caregivers and other employees are sick, according to KTLA.
  • An Indiana woman has taken a third job, in the assisted living community where her mother is quarantined, so she can see her mother, the Courier Journal reported. Janie Kasse is a hospitality aide at Windsor Ridge in Jeffersonville.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic.