August 12, 2020

Cortez Masto Spotlights Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents During Pandemic

Cortez Masto Nursing Homes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke today on the Senate floor about vulnerable Nevadans in nursing homes. She called on the Senate to pass legislation that includes more funding for PPE, testing, staffing, and other support to keep Nevadans safe. 

Senator Cortez Masto’s remarks are available in VIDEO FORMAT. Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thousands of Nevadans know the anxiety that comes because a spouse, parent, or grandparent is in a nursing home, unable to visit with or hug their loved ones for fear of getting COVID-19.

So many factors raise the coronavirus risk for nursing home residents. The majority of residents are seniors. Many have underlying conditions. They live in close quarters and share common spaces.

Residents and staff of these facilities shouldn’t be an afterthought—they are a core part of our communities and our health care system. They are our elders, and they are the keepers of our stories. We have to do more to protect them.

And we need to protect the workers in these homes too, many of whom belong to communities of color, and who are struggling to provide care to a population with unique needs.

I’m cosponsoring legislation—the Nursing Home Covid-19 Protection and Prevention Act—to get nursing and long-term care facilities in Nevada more PPE, testing, and staff.

These homes need support to slow the spread of the virus, and to respond rapidly when it does crop up, using all we’ve learned from combatting this virus so far. The bill funds teams of nurses and other critical staff to lend emergency help at nursing homes with outbreaks, and to bring the best practices to bear in helping sick residents.

This bill ensures folks in my home state of Nevada are being taken care of. That families have peace of mind that there is accountability for providers and protections in place for workers.

You know, I’m hearing from family members and loved ones of those in nursing homes in my state. I’m hearing from the care givers and health workers. And one thing that comes from all of those people is a feeling of being forgotten.

No one in America should feel forgotten right now. It’s time for us to come together.

We need to make sure nursing homes follow guidelines and that if they fail to do so, they’re held accountable. But we also need to arm them with the tools they need to face a virus that’s been relentless in attacking seniors.

We should make sure that the next coronavirus package does everything it can to support the most fragile in our communities, because they are also some of our most precious.

So I’m going to continue to fight for Nevadans to ensure that this vulnerable population is cared for, and that their voices are heard in the Senate.