New AARP Analysis Shows Louisiana COVID Cases and Deaths Declining in Nursing Homes; Chronic Issues Remain

Posted on 03/11/21

The latest release of AARP's Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows that both cases and deaths in nursing homes fell in the four weeks ending February 14. Although these rates are improving, new infections and deaths in nursing homes are still just as high as they were in the summer of 2020. Deaths of nursing home residents are less than half what they were in the previous time period, dropping from 347 to 183. New infections among residents and staff also declined to less than half of previous levels. Resident cases fell from 1,521 to 643, and new staff cases declined from 1,391 to 584.

The dashboard also reveals that staffing and shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remain a significant problem. In Louisiana, 32.4% of facilities reported a shortage of nurses or aides in the most recent time period; since AARP began tracking this data, at least 1 in 4 nursing homes has reported a staffing shortage during each 4-week period. While the number of facilities reporting a shortage of PPE has declined to 12.5% 1 in 9 did not have a one-week supply in the last month.

"One year into the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to see disgracefully high numbers of cases and deaths in Louisiana’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities," said Denise Bottcher, AARP Louisiana State Director. "Decreasing numbers and vaccine rollout give hope, but we should not lose sight of the chronic, ongoing problems in our long-term care system that were exposed by COVID."

AARP Louisiana will continue fighting for reforms that make nursing homes safe and provide options for seniors to stay in their homes. Specifically, AARP Louisiana urges Louisiana lawmakers to

  • Enact or make permanent the components of AARP's five-point plan:
    • Prioritize regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.
    • Improve transparency focused on daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities; communication with families about discharges and transfers; and accountability for state and federal funding that goes to facilities.
    • Ensure access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.
    • Ensure quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.
    • Reject immunity and hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to provide adequate care to 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. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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