Cases of COVID rose among Nebraska nursing home residents and staff over the four weeks ending July 18, according to the latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.
Resident cases per 100 rose from 0.05 to 0.25 and staff cases per 100 jumped from 0.18 to 0.34.The increases are concerning given the rise of new variants, the gaps in vaccinations among those in nursing homes, and the disproportionate numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 and high risk in nursing homes throughout the pandemic.
At least 855 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Nebraska have died from COVID-19 – representing around 37% of deaths, even though less than 1% of the population lives in these facilities.
While staff vaccination rates increased in the past month, they remain low compared to goals. Only 24% of Nebraska nursing homes had at least 75% of staff vaccinated, which is the benchmark goal the industry has set for vaccinations in facilities.
Nationally, 60% of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated and about 82% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending July 18. Here in Nebraska, 91.8% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 66.3 % of staff.
“The high COVID death rates of residents and staff in nursing homes has been a national disgrace. As the new variants are emerging, facilities cannot let preventable problems be repeated. The key is to increase vaccinations, and do it now,” said Todd Stubbendieck, state director of AARP Nebraska. “AARP is calling on nursing homes to require vaccinations for both staff and residents. The low levels of staff vaccinations in particular creates an unacceptable level of risk, since the disease spreads so easily in these environments. And facilities must ensure all residents are vaccinated, including providing vaccines to newly admitted residents. Facilities must be open and transparent with how they are progressing toward the vital goal of vaccination for all staff and residents.”
In Nebraska, shortages of staff rose from the last AARP dashboard, with 35.7% of nursing homes reporting a staff shortage. In contrast, shortages of personal protective equipment decreased to 3.2% of nursing homes noting an urgent need for more PPE.
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.
See the full Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard: http://www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard.
AARP is providing information and resources about COVID-19 to help older Nebraskans and has developed key questions for families to ask if a loved one is in a nursing home. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.
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.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.