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Four of seven COVID-19 metrics used to assess the impact of the virus on Florida nursing homes improved over a four-week period in November and December, the latest dashboard update shows. from AARP.
Vaccinations among staff and the number of residents and staff receiving boosters have also increased, according to the report.
“This new report shows that Florida nursing home residents and healthcare workers are taking steps to protect themselves with booster shots,” said AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson, in a press release. “As the omicron variant continues to spread, we hope to see this positive recall trend increase in future reports. The data also shows that other indicators, such as cases and deaths of nursing home residents, have decreased during this period.
However, all seven measures are below the national average.
Using data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – which is self-reported by nursing homes – the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at the University of Miami in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the impact of the virus on nursing home residents and staff.
Federal data does not include coronavirus cases among residents or staff of assisted living facilities, group homes and other senior care facilities.
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COVID-19 cases and deaths
In the report, which covers Nov. 22 through Dec. 19, the latest numbers analyzed by AARP, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Florida nursing home residents fell again from the previous reference period.
Florida nursing homes reported seven new deaths, down from 52 deaths reported between Oct. 18 and Nov. 21, according to AARP. Nationally, 1,667 new resident deaths from COVID-19 have been reported.
Statewide, nursing homes reported 0.2 COVID-19 cases per 100 residents, down from 0.4 last reporting period, according to AARP.
Cases among staff remained stable compared to the previous reporting period at 0.3 cases per 100 staff.
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Vaccinations and boosters
According to the AARP report, Florida has the second-worst rate of nursing home residents who received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine and the third-worst rate of vaccinations.
“AARP Florida is working hard to raise awareness of the value of boosters for vulnerable people,” Johnson said. “Even with the substantial increases in this report, Florida lags the nation in providing boosters to nursing home residents and staff.”
While 80.6% of nursing home residents were fully vaccinated, only 31.2% received a booster shot. The national average for booster injections is almost 50%.
And only 13.1% of staff received a booster dose of the vaccine, also below the national average of 20.5%.
“At the time of this report, only 31% of residents had received reminders. That’s an increase of nearly 8% since our last report, but the national average is 50%,” Johnson said. “Nursing home staff receiving recalls has increased from 9% to 13%, which is good news, but it is still in the bottom third when compared across the country.
But overall staff vaccination rates have risen from 63% in the last report to 73%.
About 50%, or 350, of Florida nursing homes have met the industry standard and vaccinated at least 75% of their staff, up 18% since last month’s report.
Florida nursing homes reporting staffing shortages have remained steady at 20% since last month’s report.
The percentage of nursing homes in urgent need of personal protective equipment has increased from 3.4% to 4.1%.
Nikki Ross covers K-12 education, health and COVID-19 for the Daytona Beach News-Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @nikkiinreallife.
This article originally appeared in The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Florida Nursing Homes: Increased COVID Vaccines for Residents and Staff