New data indicate another surge of the COVID-19 virus is beginning, heightening the urgency for booster shots among nursing home residents and staff.
In the four-week period ending April 17, resident deaths declined by about two-thirds nationwide, compared to the previous four weeks, with resident and staff cases dropping by about one-half nationwide during the same period, according to AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. Here in Michigan, resident deaths were down from a rate of .11 per 100 residents in the previous four-week period ending March 20, to .05 in the four-week period ending April 17. Resident and staff cases also showed a decrease from .92 to .58 and 1.6 to 1.12, respectively during this same period.
However, within the four weeks covered by this month’s Dashboard, the number of new cases increased week by week, and according to data from the CDC, in the two weeks since April 17, there have already been more cases reported than during all four weeks covered by this month’s Dashboard.
The numbers show another wave of COVID-19 is upon us and gaining steam ” said Paula Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan, which serves more than 1.3 million members age 50 and older in Michigan. Booster doses for nursing home residents and staff are a vital line of defense in protecting this vulnerable population. It is critical that we get these folks boosted as this new wave of the virus emerges.”
The latest data from the Dashboard shows that as of April 17th, 70.6% of nursing home residents in Michigan were fully vaccinated with one booster dose, a slight increase from mid-March. Among staff, 82.9% are fully vaccinated with one booster dose, also a slight increase from mid-March. Data on second boosters is not yet available.
AARP Michigan continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. Specifically, AARP Michigan urges legislators to support and strengthen the direct care workforce, as well as rebalancing Michigan’s long-term care system to provide more services in home and community-based settings.
AARP Michigan applauds the recent bipartisan passage of HB 5523, a supplemental appropriations bill which funds a pilot to begin the transformation toward single room occupancy as the norm for nursing home care.
“Poor quality care in nursing homes is not acceptable under any circumstances, not even during a pandemic ” said Lisa Dedden Cooper, AARP Michigan Manager of Advocacy. “Many nursing homes have been plagued by chronic issues since long before COVID – understaffing, poor infection control, overcrowding, and more. Our loved ones deserve better.”
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 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 and booster rates within individual nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.
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.