Oct 14, 2021
New AARP Analysis: COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes Doubled from August to September 2021
Vaccination Rates Increased Slightly in Same Time Period; More than Half of Nursing Home Staff Vaccinated in Every State

En EspañolWASHINGTONThe latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows the coronavirus continued to impact nursing home residents and staff in the four weeks ending September 19. Resident deaths from coronavirus doubled since the last dashboard release, with more than 2,000 lives lost in nursing homes from mid-August to mid-September. The rate of new staff and resident cases also increased, and residents who are not fully vaccinated were twice as likely be infected as those who are fully vaccinated. Cases and deaths would be even higher if not for the availability of vaccines, underscoring the importance of continuing access to COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots for eligible residents and staff.

There were modest increases in vaccination rates, with 85% of residents and 67% of staff fully vaccinated as of September 19 (up from 84% and 64% in mid-August). 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. Nursing homes reporting staffing shortages also rose by 3% for the second month, with 29% now indicating 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 has infiltrated nursing homes across the United States,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “Tragically, we are still seeing far too many infections and deaths in these facilities. It is past time to vaccinate all staff and residents and prevent yet another wave of this virus from taking more lives.”

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 implementing 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.

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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.

For further information: Amanda Davis, 202-434-2560, adavis@aarp.org, @AARPMedia