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New AARP Analysis: COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes Nearly Tripled from August to September 2021 in Michigan

Nursing home staff and resident

LANSING, MI COVID-19 continued to take a deadly toll on nursing home residents and staff in Michigan in the four weeks ending September 19, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.

Resident deaths from COVID-19 increased from a rate of .06 in mid-August to .15 in mid-September. Nationally, resident deaths from coronavirus doubled since the last dashboard release, with more than 2,000 lives lost in nursing homes in the same period. New infections among residents and staff in Michigan also increased. Resident cases went from .36 to .91 per 100 residents, and new staff cases increased from .85 to 1.63 per 100 residents.

Vaccination rates among nursing home residents and staff also increased, with 82.9% of residents and 55.7% of staff fully vaccinated as of September 19, up from 81.4% and 53.5% in mid-August. Nationally, more than half of health care staff in nursing homes are now vaccinated in every state. AARP has called on nursing homes and long-term care facilities to require that staff and residents be vaccinated against coronavirus, and the Biden Administration has announced plans to require vaccination for staff in nursing homes and most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments.

All staff and residents of long-term care facilities must be vaccinated against coronavirus to prevent more heartbreaking losses as we head into winter.
Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director

The new Dashboard also shows that chronic staffing issues in Michigan continue. In the four weeks ending September 19, 36.5% reported a shortage of nurses or aides. Nationally, staffing shortages also rose by 3 percentage points for the second month, with 29% of nursing facilities now reporting a shortage of nurses or aides – on par with the highest level seen during last winter’s COVID wave.

“It’s now been one year since AARP began analyzing and reporting how COVID infiltrated nursing homes across the United States,” said Paula Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director. “The increase in deaths among nursing home residents is a grim reminder that this pandemic is far from over. All staff and residents of long-term care facilities must be vaccinated against coronavirus to prevent more heartbreaking losses as we head into winter.”

Nationally, AARP has supported several provisions in the reconciliation bill currently before Congress that would help address long-standing issues in skilled nursing facilities and help ensure that residents are receiving quality care. One provision AARP supports would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and submit a report to Congress on the appropriateness of establishing minimum staff to resident ratios for nursing staff in skilled nursing facilities and provide a process for implementation of such requirements.

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

The full Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard, and an AARP story about this month’s data is available here. For more information on how coronavirus is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes. Medicare.gov’s Care Compare website now offers information about vaccination rates within nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.


About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.orgwww.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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