Only 58.4 % of nursing home residents and 20% of nursing home staff in Nebraska had received a COVID-19 booster as of mid-November, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.
With holiday gatherings on the horizon, these numbers are a cause for concern, as more than a year and a half into the pandemic, rates of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are rising again nationally, along with increased community spread. While case rates declined slightly compared to the same time period last month, in AARP’s dashboard, looking week to week, the number of cases increased each week during the four weeks ending November 21.
In Nebraska, resident cases remained the same from a rate of 2.10 per 100 in mid-October to 2.11 in mid-November. Staff cases also remained virtually unchanged from a rate of 3.31 per 100 to 3.08 during this same time period. Nursing home resident deaths from coronavirus decreased from a rate of .33 per 100 in mid-October to .20 in mid-November.
“COVID-19 continues to infiltrate America’s nursing homes with more than 1,500 new nursing home resident deaths nationally for the third consecutive month,” said Todd Stubbendieck, state director of AARP, which serves nearly 200,000 members age 50 and older in Nebraska. “Increasing vaccination rates—including boosters — among nursing home residents and staff is key to protecting our loved ones and getting the pandemic under control.”
“AARP calls on nursing homes, state and federal authorities, and others to increase access to and receipt of COVID-19 boosters for both nursing home staff and residents. As new variants emerge and vaccine immunity wanes, the low number of residents and staff who have received a booster creates an unacceptable level of risk since the disease spreads so easily in these environments. ”
While the percentage of residents and staff who have received boosters remain low, rates of those fully vaccinated—those who have received two COVID-19 shots—continue to slowly rise as of November 21. In Nebraska more than 76% of nursing home staff are fully vaccinated and 93% of nursing home residents.
The number of facilities in Nebraska reporting a shortage of nurses or aides decreased slightly from 48.7% to 45.7% in the four weeks ending November 21.
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 rates within nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.
This story is provided by AARP Nebraska. Visit the AARP Nebraska page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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