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Senior care facilities need COVID-19 testing and protective gear just like hospitals | READER COMMENTARY

FutureCare Lochearn officials said they uncovered the outbreak through what they called "widespread surveillance testing," out of concern that its population of 200 residents was especially vulnerable because the facility is in an area with some of the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in the state.
FutureCare Lochearn officials said they uncovered the outbreak through what they called "widespread surveillance testing," out of concern that its population of 200 residents was especially vulnerable because the facility is in an area with some of the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in the state.(Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

Widespread testing and quick isolation are keys to Baltimore’s FutureCare Lochearn controlling the spread of coronavirus. It’s how all senior care facilities must control the spread of COVID-19 (“170 coronavirus cases confirmed at FutureCare Lochearn in Baltimore in state’s largest nursing home outbreak,” April 15).

Facilities like Lochearn face the biggest challenge in their history. To flatten the curve, the heroic frontline caregivers who work at senior care facilities need our collective support and fast.

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Like their counterparts in hospitals, frontline caregivers are working around the clock to keep residents safe. But unlike hospital staff, these caregivers aren’t on the public’s radar. These essential but invisible caregivers are not getting enough access to testing, personal protective equipment and overall support. It is all needed to keep them, their families and those in their care safe during this pandemic.

COVID-19 disproportionately affects residents of senior care facilities due to their age and weakened immune systems. They are among America’s most vulnerable citizens and we need to do all we can to assist them. That starts with recognizing and supporting those who selflessly provide them care.

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Brian Jurutka, Annapolis

The writer is president and CEO of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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