According the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), there were more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care settings. Although COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes have decreased recently, more than a thousand die per month still. mostly because staff refuse to get vaccinated.
The new analysis of federal nursing home data shows that deaths occurred when vaccination and booster rates lag. Last month, over 10,000 residents nationwide were diagnosed with COVID-19. Some 1,000 residents — or 1 out of every 1,200 — died from COVID-19. Susan Reinhard is coauthor of the analysis and senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute. She said:
“A thousand residents dying from COVID in a just a month is still shocking to me. And it’s frustrating, because it’s somewhat fixable — with vaccines and boosters now available, those rates can and should be lower.”
Experts warn nursing home residents remain highly vulnerable to the virus, due to their age, underlying health conditions and crowded living conditions.
Presented with USA TODAY’s findings that Trilogy Health Services had the worst COVID death rate, the company cut the number by 42%. Officials claim they discovered deaths that should not have been reported. Federal regulators will now review the official tally of COVID-19 deaths following a USA TODAY investigation.
The for-profit chain operates in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. Trilogy originally reported 772 deaths at 113 facilities from October 2020 through February 2021. Now, they removed 325 deaths from the data. This cut dropped its reported rate from highest to third-highest among the nation’s 10 largest nursing home chains.
David Grabowski is a health care policy professor at Harvard University medical school who studies nursing home performance. He called Trilogy’s revisions “suspicious.” That is quite the understatement.
Nursing home employees need vaccinations and boosters. The CDC recommends boosters for nursing home residents. Studies show that vaccination becomes less effective over time especially in people 65 and older.
Recent findings published by the CDC in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests that healthcare workers were more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at their job. Two-thirds of infected workers were attributed to patients or fellow colleagues who had the disease. The “finding underscores the importance of improved infection prevention and control measures to address transmission through all healthcare-associated routes, including co-worker to co-worker, during future outbreaks,” researchers said.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal bemoans the fact that people want answers and accountability. Of course, lawsuits will increase when tens of thousands died as a result of short-staffing, poor infection control, and corporate mismanagement.