Mar 11, 2021
New AARP Analysis Shows COVID Cases and Deaths Declining in Nursing Homes; Rates Remain Higher than Summer 2020
One in Four Nursing Homes Reports Staffing Shortages

WASHINGTON – The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows that both cases and deaths in nursing homes fell significantly in the four weeks ending February 14. Deaths of nursing home residents are half what they were in the previous time period, dropping from a rate of 1.95 deaths per 100 residents to 1.02 per 100 residents. New infections among residents and staff also declined sharply: resident cases fell from 9.2 to 3.5 per 100 residents, and staff cases declined from 8.3 to 3.2 per 100 residents. Although these rates are improving, new infections and deaths in nursing homes are still higher than they were in the summer of 2020.

The dashboard also reveals that staffing and shortages of personal protective equipment remain a significant problem. Nationally, 26% of facilities reported a shortage of nurses or aides in the most recent time period; since AARP began tracking this data, at least one in four nursing homes has reported a staffing shortage during each 4-week period. While the number of facilities reporting a shortage of PPE has declined to 11%, one in nine did not have a one-week supply during the last month.

“One year into the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to see disgracefully high numbers of cases and deaths in our nation’s nursing homes,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “There are signs of hope, but we should not lose sight of the fundamental flaws in our long-term care system that were exposed by COVID. AARP will be fighting nationwide for reforms that give people more options for long-term care, and improve the quality of care for those in nursing facilities.”

This month’s dashboard data is the first in which a significant portion of nursing home residents are partially protected by a COVID-19 vaccine, and a small but growing number are fully protected by two doses. Community cases also declined during this time period. AARP’s analysis cannot identify specific causes for the drop in the rate of new cases. While vaccines certainly contributed, the observed decline was already underway before a meaningful number of staff and residents were fully vaccinated.

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.

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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