New data indicates COVID-19 remains a significant threat to the health of nursing home residents and staff in this country, underscoring the need to hold nursing homes and other long-term care facilities accountable for providing high quality care and safe environments.
In the four-week period ending May 22, the number of new resident and staff cases more than quadrupled nationwide compared to the previous four-week period ending April 17, according to AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. These case rates are comparable to the first COVID summer, in 2020, and the peak of the Delta wave, in late summer / early fall of last year.
Furthermore, nursing home resident deaths nationwide increased by about one-third compared to the previous Dashboard release, with more than 500 residents dying from COVID-19 in the four weeks ending May 22. Here in Michigan, resident deaths were up .01 from a rate of .05 in the previous four-week period ending April 17, to .065 in the four-week period ending May 22.
Nursing home resident and staff cases in Michigan were up from a rate of 1.7 in the previous four-week period ending April 17, to 7.42 in the four-week period ending May 22.
“COVID-19’s unrelenting grip on America’s nursing homes is a national disgrace,” said Paula Cunningham, State Director of AARP, which serves more than 1.3 million members age 50 and older in Michigan. “We all know that long before the pandemic, many facilities had chronic issues, such as poor infection control and understaffing, that left our loved ones vulnerable. We must secure needed reforms now to protect vulnerable nursing home residents and the staff who care for them.”
The latest data from the Dashboard shows that as of May 22, 71% of nursing home residents in Michigan were fully vaccinated with one booster dose, a slight increase from mid-April. Among nursing home staff, 83.4% are fully vaccinated with one booster dose, also a slight increase from mid-April. Data on second boosters is not yet available.
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 and booster rates within individual nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.