State-by-State Breakdown: COVID-19 Testing Positivity Rates in the Community & PPE Supply Shortages for Nursing Homes

Since July 26, there are 33 states with a positive test rate of over five percent, underscoring the urgent need for increased testing and PPE to keep the virus from spreading. From the CMS data on current PPE supplies in nursing homes, you will see that many states still have a significant percentage of facilities without vital PPE, including N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns.

On July 22, 2020, the CMS announced that,
“[they] will begin requiring, rather than recommending, that all nursing homes in states with a 5% positivity rate or greater test all nursing home staff each week.” If implemented today, 11,640 nursing homes would be required to conduct such weekly testing.

AHCA/NCAL, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, sent a
letter two weeks ago to the National Governors Association (NGA) warning states of imminent outbreaks at nursing homes and assisted living facilities given the major spikes in new cases in several states across the U.S., combined with serious PPE shortages and significant delays (up to five days or more) in getting testing results for long term care residents and caregivers.

Here are two quotes from Mark Parkinson, President and CEO, American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) in response to this data:

  • COVID-19 Testing Positivity Rates: “Governors and state health agencies, especially in these 34 states, need to take immediate action to protect our seniors and health care heroes by ensuring long term facilities have adequate supplies of PPE (including N95 masks) and staff support as well as facilitating expedited test results for our residents and caregivers. We also need members of the public to do their part to help reduce spread by wearing a mask in public and continuing to practice social distancing. We all have a duty to defend our nation’s greatest generation and their essential caregivers.”
  • PPE Supply Shortages: “The continued shortage of vital PPE supplies for nursing homes across the U.S. is a major concern especially for states with recent spikes in new COVID cases.”