HENRICO, V.A. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today released the following statement after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the creation of a task force to respond to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at Virginia nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“In Central Virginia, our communities have been stunned and devastated by the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths at our local nursing homes and long-term care facilities. With each new update, we find ourselves utterly heartbroken as more friends, family members, and neighbors are lost to this horrific pandemic,” said Spanberger. “This unspeakable catastrophe here in the Seventh District requires a strong, immediate response—and Governor Northam’s announcement today is the right step toward preventing further tragedy, providing the public with additional information, and saving lives. I’ll be closely working with the Governor, Dr. Forlano, and their team as they coordinate a strategic response and build a path toward containment, mitigation, and eventual healing. At this moment, my heart is with the loved ones of those who have passed away and those who are suffering, and I will continue fighting to protect the nursing home and assisted living staff who are battling this terrible crisis on the front lines.”
Multiple nursing home and long-term care facilities in Spanberger’s district have seen a shocking increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths over the past few weeks. Yesterday, the death toll at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County rose to 39, with 84 residents still infected with COVID-19. Additionally, at least 25 healthcare workers on staff at Canterbury have been infected with COVID-19.
Yesterday, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort urging U.S. House and U.S. Senate leadership to include emergency funding for nursing home and long-term care facilities in the next iteration of COVID-19 legislation. Earlier this week, Spanberger led a bipartisan group of Virginia members in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to swiftly distribute a minimum of $25 billion in federal funding to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Virginia and across the country.
Last month, Spanberger and U.S. Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) pressed HHS to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act to provide immediate, additional supplies of personal protective equipment to impacted nursing homes and long-term care centers.