En Español | WASHINGTON – Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise among nursing home residents and staff, increasing 50% among residents and 60% among staff in July 12-18, compared to the preceding week, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.
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 these facilities throughout the pandemic. More than 186,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19 – representing around 30% of deaths, even though less than 1% of the population lives in these facilities.
Nationally, while vaccination rates had increased several percentage points in the past month, they remain low compared to goals, at around 81% among residents and 60% among staff. Only one-quarter of nursing homes had at least 75% of staff vaccinated, which is the benchmark goal the industry has set for vaccinations in facilities.
In addition, the vaccination rates vary dramatically by state and location. Staff vaccination rates ranged from a low of 44% in Louisiana to 87% in Hawaii. Nationally, shortages of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE) remained comparable to the last AARP dashboard, with 24% of nursing homes reporting a staff shortage and 4% noting an urgent need for more PPE.
“The high COVID death rates of residents and staff in nursing homes have 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 Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “AARP is calling on nursing homes to require vaccinations for 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.”
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 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.