UPDATED 7:50 AM PT — Thursday, July 23, 2020
As coronavirus cases have continued to spike across the U.S., President Trump reiterated his commitment to protecting America’s most vulnerable.
On Wednesday, the president revealed the administration’s latest effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes. Under the plan, the White House is requiring increased testing in certain nursing facilities and will be providing new equipment to those that need it the most.
“We’re requiring increased testing of the nursing home personnel in states where you had the worst outbreaks, all personnel will be tested at the highest level,” he stated. “We’re distributing 15,000 rapid point of care diagnostic devices to support this effort.”
To protect seniors, we are requiring more testing and bolstering the supply of testing kits in nursing homes across the country. pic.twitter.com/xzc7Sx3MJz
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 22, 2020
Specifically, all nursing homes in states with a five percent positivity rate or higher will be required to test all their staff members each week.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services is set to allocate $5 billion in funds ,authorized in the CARES Act, to increase overall training and preparation to deal with potential infections.
“Nursing homes and higher risk areas will be receiving more funding,” said President Trump. “This money can be used to address critical needs, including the hiring of additional staff, increasing testing and providing technology support so residents can connect their families.”
The plan comes as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said more than 37,000 nursing homes residents have died as a result of the coronavirus. The agency also said there are upwards of 133,000 confirmed cases in these facilities across the U.S.
The president said the White House will be monitoring and distributing weekly case data directly to state leaders to help quickly contain any possible outbreaks.
“Over the past few months, we’ve created a surveillance system to detect outbreaks and currently 99 percent of all nursing homes are reporting directly to it,” he explained. “When a nursing home has three or more cases, we alert the state and make sure that it responds very quickly.”
The president went on to offer a message of hope and added that the administration remains fully committed to supporting the country’s senior citizens.
“I want to send a message of support and hope to every senior citizen who has been dealing with the struggle of isolation in what should be the golden years of your life,” said President Trump. “We will get to the other end of that tunnel very quickly, we hope the light is starting to shine.”