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Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard Suggests Rocky Mountains Being Hit Hard

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AARP updated its national Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard on Aug. 11. The dashboard suggests nursing home residents in the Intermountain West seem to be bearing the brunt of recent infections and death due to COVID-19.

New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming make up six of the eight states with the highest reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100 nursing home residents. New Mexico has the nation’s highest rate with 10.4 cases per 100 residents ill with COVID-19. Wyoming ranks eighth nationwide with 6.2 cases per 100 residents, or 114 cases total. Statewide, 42% of nursing homes confirmed a COVID-19 case among its residents in the four week period ending Aug. 11.

Alaska leads the nation with .18 deaths per 100 nursing home residents (three deaths total) attributed to COVID-19. Wyoming is tied for fourth in the country with a rate of .16. That is the same rate of COVID-19 deaths per 100 residents as the nursing home dashboard reported on June 19, after no deaths reported in the May 22 edition of the dashboard.

Alaska also leads the nation in the number of nursing home staff per 100 residents who have contracted COVID-19 with 11.28. Wyoming ranks third in the same category at 9.26 nursing home staff per 100 residents (170 confirmed case) reporting COVID-19 illness. Wyoming’s staff COVID case rate has led to the state sporting the eighth-highest percentage of facilities reporting staff shortages of nurses or aides with half of state facilities reporting a shortage. That 50% number is lower than the 66% of nursing homes that were reporting staffing shortages during the May dashboard.

According to the dashboard, 80.3% of Wyoming’s nursing home residents are reporting as fully vaccinated and boosted, placing the state in the top half of national rankings. That is significantly higher than the 41% of Wyoming’s nursing home staff who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

National Trends and Findings

Rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes rose in July for the third consecutive month, ending several months of decline from the peak of the initial Omicron wave in January 2022.

  • The rate of resident cases and the rate of staff cases each increased by about 30% in the four weeks ending 7/17/22, compared to the previous four weeks.  
  • About 1 out of every 27 nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19 in this four-week period, as well as about 1 staff member for every 22 residents.
  • Nearly half of nursing homes (44%) had a resident case during the four weeks ending 7/17/22, and more than three-fourths of facilities (76%) had a confirmed staff case.
  • As of mid-June, 88% of residents and 89% of health care staff are fully vaccinated with a primary series, unchanged from the previous 3 months. More than two years into the pandemic, about 1 in 8 residents (about 150,000) and 1 in 9 staff (about 220,000) have not been fully vaccinated.
  • As of mid-June, about three-quarters (75%) of residents and just over half (51%) of staff have been fully vaccinated and have received at least one booster dose.  These rates are virtually unchanged from the previous month, up only a fraction of a percentage point from 74% and 51% in mid-June.

About the Dashboard

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, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner. AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 dashboard has tracked five categories of impact since summer 2020, as well as vaccination rates of nursing home residents and health care staff, updated every month to track trends over time.

All nursing home data are from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Nursing Home COVID-19 Public File (https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data; downloaded on 7/29/2022).

Total deaths and cases in the state from USAFacts (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/; downloaded 7/29/2022).

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