Eldercare facilities are desperately trying to keep the contagious coronavirus from overrunning their facilities. Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Andy Slavitt, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said he can't understand why President Donald Trump's administration isn't doing more.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living, I’ve been asked a number of times what should be done… https://t.co/DFEYRvIWki— Andy Slavitt @ 🏡🇺🇸 (@Andy Slavitt @ 🏡🇺🇸)1586498391.0
First, MSNBC host Katy Tur noted that there isn't a lot of testing in nursing homes and eldercare facilities, just as there isn't a lot of testing nationally.
For some who aren't mobile, the only way to get them tested is to take them to a testing location or to the hospital. If they're not positive, taking them to the hospital just to get tested could mean that they contract the virus. Most nursing homes aren't given their own test kits or the rapid test to give within the facility. Given that they're all under quarantine, anyone who leaves a locked down nursing home would then be required to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed back into the general elder population of the home.
To make matters worse, the tracking of covid cases in elder care facilities isn't always being done. In all cases, tests aren't given after people die, so if a person dies of COVID or complications due to COVID, it would be unknown if they had the virus unless they were tested.
"There have been a lot of nursing home patients who have died who they believed were positive but never got that test," she explained.
"You think about, who's in nursing homes today, we've got about 1.5 million people in nursing homes around the country," explained Slavitt. "These are people that were born right around and after the Depression. Many of them are veterans of foreign wars. They were part of the people that built this country, and owe them a -- to their last day -- a debt in this country."
He went on to recall that in 2017 the Trump administration declared that they would no longer enforce regulations for nursing home safety.
It "is an enormous problem," he explained. "Because once somebody in a nursing home is infected with something if you don't have good infection control procedures, it spreads rapidly. And many of these are small nursing homes. We put these regulations in place. The Trump administration got rid of them in 2017. And now I think they probably wish they hadn't."
Watch the full interview below: