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Risk of COVID-19 Infection Three Times Higher for Unvaccinated Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home residents and staff experienced a surge in coronavirus in the four weeks ending August 22, with both cases and deaths roughly six times as high as they were in the four weeks ending mid-July, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. Cases are concentrated among the unvaccinated: those residents were three times as likely to contract COVID-19 last month compared to residents who are fully vaccinated.

AARP has called on long-term care facilities to require that staff and residents be vaccinated against coronavirus. There were modest increases in vaccination rates in this four-week period, with 84% of residents and 64% of staff fully vaccinated as of August 22 (up from 82% and 60% in mid-July).

“This month’s dashboard underscores why all staff and residents in long-term care facilities must be vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “For unvaccinated nursing home residents, their risk of an infection is back up to the levels we saw a year ago. More than 186,000 people who lived and worked in nursing and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, and no one wants to see that tragedy repeated. Facilities should require that all staff and residents are vaccinated, so we can slow the spread of new variants and save lives.”

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard also found a 3% increase in the percentage of facilities with staff shortages in the period ending August 22, with 27% of facilities reporting they did not have enough nurses or aides – the highest monthly increase since data collection began in the spring of 2020.

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 here 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 click here.

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