COVID-19 cases spike in Arkansas nursing homes in July

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Increase likely from community spread in the general population, report states

Margaret Choinacki, 87, who has no other family members left because her husband and daughter have died, holds up a sign as her friend Frances Reaves drives-by for a visit, Friday, July 17, 2020, at Miami Jewish Health in Miami. Miami Jewish Health has connected more than 5,000 video calls and allowed drive-by visits where friends and family emerge through sunroofs to see their loved ones. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Nursing homes across the country saw the second-highest spike of COVID-19 cases for the week ending July 19, according to a report released Tuesday, August 11, by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).

The two organizations represent more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the nation.

On May 31 there were 9,072. The week ending July 19, 8,628 cases were reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The reason for the spike is due to community spread, according to CMS.

A letter was sent to the National Governors Association by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living recommends for states to have a thoughtful approach in reopening facilities. It reads in part:

We urge governors and state health departments to closely monitor the situation in the general population
county by county to determine if long term care facilities need additional resources and if visitations
should be halted temporarily for the safety of residents and health care workers.

AHCA/NCAL, July 14 letter

As of August, more than 180 nursing home residents have died in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

17 additional nursing home deaths in Arkansas — COVID-19 related

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