Over 200,000 Residents and Staff in Long-Term Care Facilities Have Died From COVID-19

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

The title of this blog is the same as the title of an article in today’s Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Watch.

“The CDC’s latest update reporting data on nursing home deaths as of January 30th pushes the reported number of deaths over this bleak milestone. This finding comes at a time when the national surge in cases due to the Omicron variant has started to subside, deaths are rising nationwide, and nursing homes have been working to increase vaccination and booster rates among residents and staff, particularly in light of the new federal rule requiring staff vaccination recently allowed to take effect by the Supreme Court. As of January 16th, approximately 82% of nursing home staff and 87% of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 deaths in LTCFs make up at least 23% of all COVID-19 deaths in the US (Figure 1). This share has decreased since the start of the pandemic, when LTCF deaths were nearly half of all deaths nationally. This share has dropped over time for a number of reasons, including high rates of vaccination among residents, rising vaccination rates among staff, an increased emphasis on infection control procedures, declining nursing home occupancy, and the lack of data on deaths in assisted living and LTCFs other than nursing homes in recent months. Despite this drop as a share of total deaths, nursing homes have continued to experience disproportionately high case and death rates in the country during the recent surge. Higher case rates may be attributed to the highly transmissible nature of Omicron and the nature of congregate care settings. Higher death rates may be attributed to the high-risk status of those who reside in nursing homes.”