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Nursing home owners voice concern in spike of COVID-19 cases

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The nationwide spike in positive COVID-19 cases now happening in 38states has the nursing home industry sounding alarm bells.

Two groups representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities issued a new report today showing a spike in late September after seven weeks of declining numbers due to increased testing.

The groups, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). represent about 14,000 nursing homes.

They say they see increasing numbers due in part because the communities where they are located are seeing additional positive cases.

According to data from Johns Hopkins Hospital, which tracks COVID-19 cases, there was a peak of 10,125 positive cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities the week of July 26.

That dropped to 6,135 the week of September 23, 2020, and has been climbing since then.

“The number one factor in keeping COVID out of our nursing homes, so we can protect our vulnerable population is reducing the level of the virus in the surrounding community,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “While the support we have received from Congress, the Administration and other public health agencies have helped our facilities fight this battle, we could still see another wave of COVID cases caused by the sheer volume of rising cases in communities across the U.S. given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus.”

The report comes with yet another plea to congress to pass additional money for front-line healthcare workers and testing.

To date, there have been 176 deaths related to COVID-19 in West Virginia’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

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