The AARP indicates the state is not doing a good enough job with the basic COVID-19 precautions needed to stem the loss of life and protect residents and staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. AARP State Director Denise Bottcher says around long term care facilities makeup around 1,500 deaths in the state.

“40% of all deaths that are related to the coronavirus are coming from nursing homes and long term care facilities, so that is why we’re raising the alarm,” said Bottcher.

Nationally, 50,000 long term facility residents have died from the virus.  Bottcher says congressional action is needed to make sure facilities are regularly testing and have the appropriate PPE.

“Not just to get us through this first wave, mind you.  It is to get us through until there is a vaccine and there needs to be continued transparency and provide for virtual visitations,” said Bottcher.

Bottcher says in recent weeks, the AARP has learned that about a third of facilities are not in compliance with regular testing of residents and staff, but non-compliance has been an issue for quite some time in different areas of cleanliness.

“Nursing homes have really struggled over many years to just follow the basic infection control proceedures like washing hands before interacting with the next resident, so this is happening even before the pandemic,” said Bottcher.

The AARP also opposes any sort of immunity from accountability for facilities with issues linked to COVID-19.

(Story written by Kevin Barnhart/Louisiana Radio Network)