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AARP calls for increased boosters in nursing homes
MADISON, WISCONSIN – Less than 30 percent of nursing home residents and just over one in 10 nursing home staff in Wisconsin had received a COVID-19 booster as of mid-November, according to the latest data from AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard .
With holiday gatherings on the horizon, these numbers are a cause for concern, AARP says, as more than a year and a half into the pandemic, rates of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are rising again nationally, along with increased community spread.
The good news is that vaccination rates among nursing home staff and residents in Wisconsin increased as of Nov. 21, according to latest data, with 72.4 percent of staff and 89 percent of residents vaccinated – up from 69.2 percent and 88.3 percent respectively over the previous four-week period.
The bad news is that the latest dashboard shows that only 29.4 percent of Wisconsin nursing home residents and 11.3 percent of staff had received their booster shot by mid-November.
In Wisconsin, resident COVID cases increased slightly from a rate of 1.4 per 100 residents in mid-October to 1.8 per 100 in mid-November. During the same time period, however, staff cases decreased from 3.48 per 100 residents to 3.30.
Nursing home resident deaths from coronavirus decreased slightly from a rate of 0.19 per 100 residents in mid-October to 0.14 in mid-November.
“COVID-19 continues to infiltrate America’s nursing homes with more than 1,500 new nursing home resident deaths nationally for the third consecutive month,” said AARP Wisconsin Interim State Director Christina FitzPatrick. “Increasing vaccination rates – including boosters – among nursing home residents and staff is key to protecting our loved ones and getting the pandemic under control.
“AARP calls on nursing homes, state and federal authorities, and others to increase access to and receipt of COVID-19 boosters for both nursing home staff and residents,” FitzPatrick said. “As new variants emerge and vaccine immunity wanes, the low number of residents and staff who have received a booster creates an unacceptable level of risk since the disease spreads so easily in these environments.
The number of facilities in Wisconsin reporting a shortage of nurses or aides increased from 52.8 percent in mid-October to 54.4 percent in the four weeks ending November 21. During the same time period, the percentage of nursing homes that have an urgent need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) increased from 3.0 percent to 4.2 percent.
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 coronavirus is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes. Medicare.gov’s Care Compare website now offers information about vaccination rates within nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.ion. Please delete this note before publishing.