H4224 – Resolutions establishing the annual observance of COVID-19 Remembrance Day
Please support H4224!
Letter to Legislators
DignityMA has sent this letter to legislators. We ask others to contact their legislators and support 4224.
Dignity Alliance Massachusetts is recognizing the two year anniversary of the onset of Covid-19 with the attached resolution. On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus.
On Thursday, March 10, 2022, we remember the thousands of victims of the pandemic – people who have died and those who have survived – their families, and all the caregivers and first responders. We especially remember the residents of nursing homes and other congregate care settings, thousands who died and many more who have endured the pandemic in isolation away from family and friends.
To ensure that the memories of those who suffered due to the Covid pandemic are honored in the years ahead and the lessons learned are not forgotten, we urge the Legislature to enact H.4224 – Resolutions establishing the annual observance of COVID-19 Remembrance Day.
We also suggest that March 10th be the date of commemoration.
RESOLUTION HONORING VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN MASSACHUSETTS
Read the DignityMA full Covid Remembrance Day Resolution (pdf)
WHEREAS, the 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS–CoV–2, also known as COVID-19, and all its variants are a deadly illness caused by a virus that can transmit from person to person; and
WHEREAS, in 2020, COVID-19 began to spread throughout the world, creating a global pandemic that has had a catastrophic impact on human life, communities in the Commonwealth, communities in the United States and the United States economy; and
WHEREAS, in March 2020, communities in every state began to experience increased loss of life, especially among residents of nursing homes, other older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers; and
WHEREAS, since the pandemic took such a devastating toll on nursing home residents nationally, and in particular in Massachusetts, it’s important to document their loss of life. Nationally, nursing home residents account for about 16% of COVID-19 deaths as of February 2022. In the Commonwealth, the most current data available (as of December 2021) showed that over 5,700 nursing home resident deaths accounted for about 30% of the state’s nearly 20,000 COVID-19 deaths, even though nursing home residents comprise less than half of 1% of the population .
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is more dangerous, more deadly for older individuals, no matter where they live. Someone who is 75 to 84 years old has about six times the chance of being killed by the virus as those between 50 and 65, while the risk goes to about 15 times as high for those above 85.
WHEREAS, people with intellectual disability suffered one of the largest risk factors for COVID-19 mortality , much of which came from people with intellectual disabilities being concentrated in institutional settings. People with mental health diagnoses are also at elevated risk, partly for similar reasons.
WHEREAS, working conditions have always been challenging in nursing homes, but this has been magnified during the pandemic. Across the US, as of November 2021, over one million staff have had confirmed COVID-19 cases, and nearly 2,300 staff have died from COVID-19 , making the nursing home caregiver the most dangerous job in America.
WHEREAS, for several months into the pandemic, the federal and state governments did not provide sufficient or appropriate PPE supplies to nursing home workers across the country , putting the lives of all nursing home workers and nursing home residents in jeopardy.
WHEREAS, home health care workers, who are essential to supporting older adults and individuals with disabilities in their homes and maintaining their integration in communities throughout the Commonwealth, were unjustifiably neglected as the essential front-line workers they are and denied critical access to the COVID tests and adequate personal protective equipment that were provided to front-line workers in other health care settings; and
WHEREAS, neither providers of care, supports and services to older adults and people with disabilities, nor the owners and managers of nursing homes, provided sufficient trained staff or robust infection control, under routine, let alone pandemic, circumstances to provide more than minimal protective measures; and
WHEREAS, the failure of the nursing home federal and state oversight process contributed to the lack of preparation for the most serious public health emergency in a century ; and
WHEREAS, the early response of both government agencies and providers included policies and practices that isolated residents of nursing homes, rest homes, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities, group homes, and elderly housing from family and friends, leading to unhealthy conditions including delayed attention to non-COVID health conditions, loneliness, depression, and other forms of irreparable harm; and
WHEREAS, many across the Commonwealth and the United States were, and continue to be, personally impacted by COVID-19, including mourning their loved ones, friends and neighbors or suffering from the long-term physical and mental health implications of the virus; and
WHEREAS, public servants, frontline and essential workers and health care professionals took selfless actions to protect those for whom they cared, their neighbors and communities, and found innovative ways to provide services; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers in the Commonwealth, the United States, and countries around the world; and each life lost to COVID-19, each inequity and broken system brought to light, and each sacrifice made shall never be forgotten.
WHEREAS, the best memorial is transformative change in how nursing home residents, older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers are treated.
WHEREAS, a state of emergency was declared in the Commonwealth on March 10, 2020, due to the pandemic,
Now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that Dignity Alliance Massachusetts hereby commemorates March 10, 2022, and annually each March 10th, as
COVID-19 REMEMBRANCE DAY
And, be it further:
RESOLVED, that participants in Dignity Alliance Massachusetts and other advocates for older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers pay fitting observance to this solemn occasion and pledge to re-dedicate themselves to creating a long-term care system that offers dignity to all, is person-centered, and helps every person to age in place in the least restrictive setting close to family and friends.