Although nursing home deaths from Covid-19 are down dramatically from their peak at the end of last year, a Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis Shows a significant increase in August as the Delta version swept across the country.
After months of decline, the number of deaths rose sharply from July to August, largely due to a federal effort to vaccinate residents. The nursing home reported nearly 1,800 deaths among its residents and staff in August, representing the highest monthly toll since February.
The findings underscore the ongoing vulnerability of nursing home residents, who are older and in poor health, and highlight the importance of getting a booster shot to people in this population. Rising number of infections could fuel call over Nursing home workers to vaccinate further federal requirement President Biden made the announcement in August.
“While the majority of COVID-19 deaths in July and August occurred outside nursing homes, the high rate of increase within nursing homes indicates that residents and staff in these settings are at risk of death during delta surges,” the researchers said. . . The study, published on Friday, did not say how many people had not been vaccinated.
Priya Chidambaram, senior policy analyst at the foundation and one of the authors of the study, said that August saw a much higher increase in nursing home deaths compared to the community at large. “Vaccination is protecting people in these facilities very strongly, but the delta version had an effect,” she said.
He said early September figures could indicate that deaths are declining again.
Nursing homes were particularly hard hit in the pandemic, accounting for nearly a third of the country’s total deaths as of the end of June, according to a Kaiser analysis. But vaccination of residents reduced the number of monthly deaths from a high of about 22,000 in December and January to nearly 300 for June and July.
Although cases have increased, “we are still not at our peak in December 2020, nor at any point last year, thanks to safe and effective vaccines as well as providers’ ongoing vaccination efforts and infection control measures.” ,” the American Health Care Association, a leading nursing home trade group, said in a statement.
The association said the infection was largely a result of the high number of cases in the surrounding community. “A very small number of cases are occurring in communities with high prevalence and low vaccination rates among the general population,” the group said.
But the group said it was encouraged by the recent rollout of booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine and said it was looking forward to following any developments with respect to other vaccines.
While the vaccination rate among residents is now approaching 85 percent, according to latest data From the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, only about 65 percent of nursing home workers are vaccinated, which is roughly the same percentage as American adults overall.
“The rate of growth among employees is slower than among residents,” Ms Chidambaram said.