New Data Indicate Current Surge of COVID-19 in Virginia

Posted on 08/18/22

Disturbing new data indicate the current surge of COVID-19 has not yet peaked, with cases and deaths in America's nursing homes rising again for the third consecutive month, while vaccination rates and booster rates among vulnerable nursing home residents and staff have stagnated.

The rate of nursing home resident deaths nationwide increased by 13% in the four-week period ending July 17, according to AARP's Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, compared to the previous Dashboard release. More than 850 resident deaths were reported nationwide.

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Here in Virginia, resident deaths were up from .06 per 100 residents in the previous four-week period ending June 19, to .08 per 100 residents in the four-week period ending July 17. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3,086 nursing home residents in Virginia have died from COVID-19.

The rate of resident cases and the rate of staff cases nationwide each increased by 30% in the four weeks ending July 17, according to the Dashboard. Here in Virginia, nursing home resident cases were down from a rate of 4.14 per 100 residents in the previous four-week period ending June 19, to 3.90 per 100 residents in the four-week period ending July 17. The rate of staff cases was at a rate of 3.81 per 100 residents which is the same when compared to the previous Dashboard release.

Furthermore, as of mid-July, about 75% of residents and just over 51% of staff nationwide have been fully vaccinated and have received at least one booster dose. These rates are virtually unchanged from the previous month. The latest data from the AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard shows that as of July 17, 89.1% of nursing home residents in Virginia were fully vaccinated with at least one booster dose, virtually unchanged for the past several months.

Among nursing home staff, 50.7% are fully vaccinated with at least one booster dose, a slight increase from mid-June.

""These new numbers are disturbing and underscore the fact that COVID is still relentless when it comes to the death and heartbreak it causes in nursing homes"," said, David DeBiasi, Director of Advocacy for AARP Virginia, which serves more than a million members age 50 and older in Virginia. ""We must be just as relentless when it comes to getting residents and staff vaccinated and boosted, and holding nursing homes accountable for providing high quality care and safe environments"."

AARP Virginia continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. Specifically, AARP Virginia urges state lawmakers to:

· ensure quality care by providing adequate staffing levels

· make sure confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, and demographic data are available for residents, families – and the public – daily.

· combat often-fatal isolation by connecting residents with their families through virtual visitation.

· make sure any funding provided to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities goes towards the health and safety of residents.

· hold nursing homes legally accountable for providing residents with quality care.

AARP is fighting for minimum hourly nursing standards in Virginia which would ensure quality care and help address workforce shortages by requiring that nursing homes provide at least 4.1 hours of nurse and aide care per resident per day. AARP also supports measures that would increase training, wages, and benefits for employees of Virginia’s 288 nursing homes, who care for more than 30,000 Virginians.

Advocates for Virginia’s more than 30,000 nursing home residents have been asking the General Assembly for minimum hourly staffing standards for 20 years. During the 2022 session House Bill 646, which would have required minimum staffing ratios, failed to advance.

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 AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. 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.

For more information on how coronavirus is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.

About AARP

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.

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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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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