LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An encouraging report about the decline of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes nationwide shows an 82% decline in new cases among residents since the peak during the week of Dec. 20, 2020.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) reports that U.S. nursing homes have seen the lowest number of cases since tracking began in May 2020.
Data was not broken down by state.
A look at the current state of nursing homes in Nevada shows a dramatic decline over the same time period, but statistics are not available to say if the state has matched the national trend.
A graph at the top of page 2 of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services dashboard on “Facilities with Reported COVID-19 Cases” shows how case counts have fallen off
NEVADA, September and October:
NEVADA, November and December:
NEVADA: January and February:
Nevada’s display of the data does not exclude other facilities — including prisons, where the COVID-19 outbreaks in November and December produced huge numbers.
“From the beginning of Nevada’s COVID-19 response, the Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance and the Office of Public Health Investigations and Epidemiology have worked together closely to assess Nevada’s residential facilities to ensure best-practices are implemented to protect residents and staff,” according to a statement from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “Facility inspectors, infection preventionists, and epidemiology staff worked as a team with facilities to identify issues early on and put prevention practices in place. The goal was, and continues to be, to support facilities in their efforts to protect the health of staff and residents.”
“Additionally, those that live and work in long-term care facilities were some of the first Nevadans to be vaccinated and as of this week more than 21,000 residents have received at least one dose of vaccine.”
Along with the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases, the new national data also shows COVID-related deaths in nursing homes declined by 63% since Dec. 20, according to AHCA/NCAL.
The drop in cases in nursing homes came as vaccines rolled out, with an emphasis on getting shots for the most vulnerable Americans — including nursing home residents. As COVID-19 cases fell by 46% in the general population, nursing homes saw an 82% decline.
“We still have a long road ahead, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging and a major morale booster for frontline caregivers who have been working tirelessly every day for a year to protect our residents,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “This new data showcases just how important it is for nursing homes residents and staff, as well as the general public, to get the vaccine because it is clearly working.”
The report attributed the success to vaccinations.
“Though this report brings hope, we cannot let our guard down. We must continue to encourage folks to get vaccinated, especially caregivers and staff,” added Parkinson. “Public health officials must also continue to ensure that long term care residents and staff remain the highest priority for accessing the vaccine, as the on-site clinics with CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacy partners are coming to a close.
Parkinson said a review of restrictions on nursing home visitors and group activities is needed. “With millions of residents and caregivers now fully protected thanks to the vaccines, residents must be able to safely reengage in meaningful activities and be reunited with their loved ones,” he said.