augusta free press news

Spanberger: Central Virginia nursing homes, care facilities need PPE

Abigail SpanbergerRep. Abigail Spanberger is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act to provide immediate, additional supplies of personal protective equipment to nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Central Virginia and across the country.

In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Spanberger called on HHS to use the full powers of the DPA to increase U.S production of PPE and to better coordinate information sharing between nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and distributors.

“We write on behalf of the thousands of our constituents who live, work, or have family members in nursing homes to emphasize the need for urgent action to protect residents from the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Spanberger, D-Va. “We urge you to take advantage of the authorities granted to you by the Defense Production Act to ensure that nursing homes receive enough personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

During the past week, Seventh District nursing homes and long-term care facilities have experienced growing numbers of coronavirus cases and coronavirus-related deaths. Additionally, staff at these facilities in Central Virginia have urgently requested additional PPE supplies as they face acute shortages of masks, protective gloves, and disposable gowns.

The DPA authorizes the President or his delegate, in this case HHS Secretary Azar, to use an array of incentives and cooperative agreements to mobilize domestic industry during a national emergency like the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter was also signed by Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va.