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Arizona nursing homes still struggling with adequate PPE supplies

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

PHOENIX – A new dashboard shows Arizona’s nursing homes are continuing to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Using self-reported data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the newly released dashboard by AARP showed 25% of Arizona nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of Personal Protection Equipment, according to data from Aug. 24 to Sept. 24.

“They shouldn’t be reporting they are low on PPE,” AARP Arizona Director Dana Marie Kennedy said.

Kennedy explained that shouldn’t be the case, especially when funds have been provided and supply is more readably available than when the pandemic began.

The dashboard also reported 25% of nursing homes continue to have staff shortages. Kennedy acknowledged a shortage already existed before the pandemic but cited low wages and management as reasons for their continuance.

“Direct care work force often makes minimum wage and they often go from one facility to another facility. That is why the hazard pay was so important to keep them on board,” Kennedy said. “The staffing shortages has all types of implications.”

According to Kennedy, a sustainable PPE supply and adequate staffing are essential to keeping residents safe.

On the other hand, the dashboard shows Arizona is below the national average when it comes to deaths per 100 residents, number of cases per 100 residents and number of staff cases.

The dashboard will be updated monthly as new information becomes available. The information on the dashboard does not include assisted living facilities or memory care units.

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