MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday $18.27 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund will go to provide baseline testing for coronavirus and screening protocols of the virus for health care personnel and residents of nursing home facilities across Alabama.
“During the pandemic, it is critical we take care of our seniors and most vulnerable residents,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “Some of our largest outbreaks of COVID-19 were within nursing homes and we must do everything possible to contain the spread within their walls. Protecting these vital members of the community, as well as the dedicated staff who take care of them, is precisely the intent of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.”
Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to respond to and mitigate COVID-19.
“I am extremely grateful to Governor Kay Ivey and her administration for supporting the ongoing testing of residents and staff in our facilities,” Brandon Farmer, president and ceo of the Alabama Nursing Home Association said. “This virus is not like anything we’ve ever seen and has hit our nursing homes and staff exceptionally hard. I am relieved to know we will have assistance to contain the spread of this virus and hopefully be able to eliminate it from our nursing homes.”
AARP Alabama State Director Candi Williams issued the following statement today in response to the announcement by Governor Kay Ivey on CARES Act Funding for nursing home coronavirus testing:
“We thank Governor Ivey for announcing today that $18.27 million in federal CARES Act funding provided to Alabama will be used for testing staff and some residents in Alabama nursing homes.
“To date, approximately 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in Alabama have been residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. While $18.27 million in funding is a good first step, it is a tiny fraction of the total $1.9 billion in funding provided to the state under the CARES Act. Families, residents and staff must be given the details of how this federal funding will be spent to address the pandemic.
“Long-term care facilities in Alabama are responsible for the health and safety of more than 23,000 individuals, along with those providing care. With their safety in mind, AARP continues to call on the Governor to stem the loss of life and protect nursing home residents by:
· Providing for regular testing of all residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and ensuring all facilities have and correctly use personal protective equipment (PPE). There are no plans or funding for regular mandatory testing of all residents and staff. This announcement also does not address sufficient PPE, staffing, infection control, and other necessary measures to ensure the wellbeing and safety of residents and staff.
· Requiring public reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths daily. The Alabama Department of Public Health is still not releasing daily public reports on the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths by facility. Transparency and real-time data are necessary to protect residents, staff and surrounding communities.”