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Minnesota Nursing Home Cases and Deaths Reach Record Highs, PPE and Staff Shortages Continue 

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The latest update of the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard finds record high resident and staff cases and deaths, continuing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), and rising staff shortages in Minnesota. Nursing home resident cases reached 8.0 per 100 residents the highest since the federal government began collecting this information. As COVID-19 brings to light longstanding flaws in the nation’s long-term care system, AARP’s Public Policy Institute also unveiled a new report in a series on strategies to improve the quality of long-term services and supports (LTSS). 

In the four weeks analyzed, October 19 to November 15, AARP’s dashboard reports that Minnesota’s nursing homes had: 

  • 8.0 new COVID-19 cases per 100 residents, up from 2.8 in the previous four-week period 
  • 1.36 COVID-19 deaths per 100 residents, up from .95 
  • 12 new staff COVID-19 cases per 100 residents, up from 4.7 
  • 30.5% of nursing homes without a 1-week supply of PPE, down from 32.2% 
  • 61.6% of nursing homes with staffing shortages, up from 51.9% 

Using data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—which is self-reported by nursing homes—the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff. The dashboard will continue to be updated every four weeks. The complete dashboard is available at aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. A snapshot of Minnesota's dashboard, below, illustrates Minnesota compared to the U.S. average: 

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aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard

“With coronavirus surging across the country, nursing home residents remain in grave danger as the virus re-enters nursing homes and other facilities at an alarming pace,” said AARP State Director Will Phillips. “Facilities continue to have shortages of the staff and PPE needed to keep residents and workers safe and stop the spread. Our state leaders must act now to save lives.” 

As the pandemic continues to place a spotlight on the shortcomings of the country’s long-term care system, the AARP Public Policy Institute has launched LTSS Choices, a multifaceted project designed to advance the transformation and modernization of the nation’s long-term services and supports (LTSS) system. A new report in the series examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care facilities and solutions to improve quality. Recommendations highlighted in the report include: 

  • Keeping current plans in place for emergencies that address both resident and staff needs 
  • Creating state LTSS emergency operations and response centers to identify emergency needs and deploy resources 
  • Increasing resident access to telehealth as a supplement to in-person care 
  • Ensuring resident care plans address their isolation, risk for depression, and ability to interact with loved ones 
  • Ensuring long-term care staff have health insurance, paid sick leave, and competitive wages 
  • Encouraging new models of LTSS facilities that can improve infection control with private rooms and bathrooms 
  • Imposing more meaningful fines and other penalties, especially for facilities that place residents in immediate jeopardy due to infection control violations 

Phillips added, “AARP will continue fighting to protect nursing home residents now and offering solutions to improve our long-term care system for the decades to come.” 
The LTSS Choices series, including “COVID-19 and Nursing Home Residents,” is available at aarp.org/ltsschoices

More resources and information on COVID-19 and nursing homes can be found at aarp.org/nursinghomes

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