WASHINGTON – The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows that the crisis in these facilities continues, despite some incremental improvements in the number of new infections. From December 21 to January 17, the rate of coronavirus cases declined about 13%, to 9.2 resident cases and 8.3 staff cases per 100 residents. While cases are lower than in the previous time period, they remain at the second highest level found in AARP’s dashboard, with about three times as many new cases as were reported in the summer and fall. Meanwhile, resident death rates rose even higher, from 1.88 to 1.95 deaths for every 100 people living in a nursing home.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 160,000 residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have lost their lives, and nearly 1.3 million people are known to have been infected with coronavirus in these facilities. AARP has been urging states and the federal government to take action on a 5-point plan to protect residents and staff in long-term care facilities from COVID-19.
“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the first known COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, the number of new cases remains appallingly high and deaths are still at record levels,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “While the ongoing vaccination rollout offers hope, we cannot lower our guard. Fundamental reform of our long-term care system is needed to protect the health and safety of vulnerable seniors now and into the future.”
The dashboard found that staffing and shortages of PPE remain a significant problem. Nationally, 29% of facilities reported a shortage of nurses or aides, and 14% said that they did not have a one-week supply of PPE. While the number of facilities reporting a shortage of PPE has declined from a high of 28% in June, one in seven still does not have a one-week supply. In the most-affected state, Maine, 42% of nursing homes reported that they did not have a one-week supply of 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.
The full Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. 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.