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More than Half of NH Nursing Homes Need More PPE

The AARP Public Policy Institute collaborated with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio on a new AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to track state and national data. (shishkin137/Adobe)
The AARP Public Policy Institute collaborated with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio on a new AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to track state and national data. (shishkin137/Adobe)
November 20, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. -- More than 91,000 people have died from COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, a sobering fact to which AARP is urging policymakers to pay more attention.

The group is launching a Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide data about specific points of concern at the state and national level. This includes case rates and death rates in long-term care facilities, staffing issues, and availability of personal protective equipment.

AARP Senior Vice President Susan Reinhard said she hopes the dashboard renews public concern about the high percentage of COVID deaths in nursing homes.

"Why is it that people aren't shocked? I'll tell you the truth," she said. "In my own family, I was talking to them about this dashboard. They had no idea. Why don't they know that? Is it ageism?"

According to self-reporting from New Hampshire nursing homes, the Granite State has one of the highest PPE shortages in the country. Nearly 53% of long-term care facilities in the state said they don't have a one-week supply of all PPE.

Doug McNutt, advocacy director for AARP New Hampshire, said he doesn't know why nursing homes are facing such acute PPE shortages. However, he noted that COVID has been particularly dire in New Hampshire facilities.

"The majority of COVID deaths have been in long-term care facilities," he said.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, New Hampshire has the highest share of COVID deaths in long-term care facilities of any state. About 80% of coronavirus deaths are people who either lived or worked in these settings. Gov. Chris Sununu is starting a statewide mask mandate today in response to the surge in COVID cases, including five outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

Disclosure: AARP New Hampshire contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH