Nursing homes have been severely affected by COVID-19 across the country and in Idaho.
"One of the things we need to stay vigilant about is protecting the vulnerable. The vulnerable needs to be protected," United States' Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams says.
The vulnerable include the elderly population who reside in nursing homes.
According to the Idaho Division of Public Health's data dashboard, as of August 13th, people over the age of 70 make up almost 2,200 covid-19 positive cases in Idaho.
"This disease still can wreak havoc if it gets into a nursing home. If it gets into a facility where you have vulnerable people close together," Dr. Adams says. "So, the people of Idaho need to understand the importance of community spread. Just because you're not in an at-risk group doesn't mean you can't get the disease and spread it to your grandmother or grandfather, aunt uncle. Someone that you love."
He also mentioned that more PPE has been available in nursing homes across the country from a federal perspective.
"We've increased testing supplies and personal protection equipment, gowns, gloves, and masks for nursing homes and were increasing inspection and inspection support for those nursing homes," Dr. Adams says.
People who are older, or have chronic medical conditions are particularly high risk for complications and death from COVID-19.
The public and nursing homes are being encouraged to take extra precautions with their staff to spread the virus from reaching their patients.
"We're encouraging nursing homes to do everything they can to make sure they are protecting the vulnerable while we lower the spread of disease in communities," Dr. Adams says.
To learn more about Idaho's response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ltc/.