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AARP commercial urges Governor Ducey to do more to protect seniors

Posted at 8:24 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 23:30:28-04

AARP is running a television commercial in Arizona urging Governor Doug Ducey to do more to protect people in nursing homes and similar facilities.

"We have seen more and more [coronavirus] outbreaks in these long-term care facilities," said AARP Arizona director Dana Marie Kennedy. "When one person gets COVID in a facility, it’s just like wildfire."

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AARP is asking for more regular testing at long-term care facilities, more personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, daily public reporting of cases and deaths, and virtual visitation for families.

The Arizona Department of Health Services fought in court to prevent releasing the names of congregate care facilities with outbreaks.

Gov. Doug Ducey is taking action in other areas, and his spokesperson says the governor is also working with the AARP.

Monday, Ducey announced skilled nursing facilities would be eligible for $10,000 grants to purchase electronic equipment for residents to video chat. Earlier this month, he announced an additional $10 million for PPE for long-term care facilities statewide.

"Our advocacy is working, but we still have to put the pressure on until this ongoing testing happens," Kennedy said.

The state completed one round of COVID-19 testing at all Arizona skilled nursing homes this spring. One round of testing at all assisted living facilities will start in July.

Kennedy says more frequent testing, as often as once a week, would be ideal to slow the spread, but she says senior care facilities can't shoulder the financial burden alone.