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COVID-19 cases and deaths rise for second straight month in Michigan nursing homes

Lansing, MI – Rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths among nursing home residents and staff nationwide increased sharply in December, while most residents and staff nationwide are still not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.  

According to AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, rates of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents nationwide increased 57% in the four weeks ending December 18, compared to the previous four weeks. There was also a 53% increase in staff cases during the same period.  Here in Michigan, resident cases are up by 21.5% in the four weeks ending December 18, compared to the previous four weeks, with staff cases up nearly 9% during the same period.

 Nursing home resident deaths nationwide increased by 14% during the four-week period ending December 18 as compared to the four weeks ending November 20. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3,500 of nursing home residents in Michigan have died from the virus, including 46 residents during the four-week period ending December 18.  

The new data shows most nursing home residents and staff are still not up to date on their vaccinations. For the Dashboard period ending December 18, only 47% of nursing home residents nationwide and 22% of staff were up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations.  Here in Michigan, 42.1% of residents and 13.8% of staff were “up to date” on their vaccinations. Bivalent boosters, designed to protect against the Omicron variant as well as previous strains, have been available since September 2022, but utilization rates remain low.

 “Nursing homes must prioritize steps to increase up-to-date vaccination rates among residents and staff,” said Paula D. Cunningham, state director of AARP, which serves more than 1.2 million members age 50 and older in Michigan.

“Family members can play a role too, keeping their loved ones safe by engaging with facility management and staff and asking the right questions about vaccination rates,” Cunningham added.

 AARP recommends family members of a nursing home resident ask these 10 questions about vaccination rates and other COVID-related issues to stay connected and keep your loved one safe.

 AARP has also sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging it to take additional steps to help increase up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination rates for nursing home residents and staff nationwide, saying more action is needed to protect them and would build upon other recent steps.

Nationwide, it’s estimated that tragically more than 175,000 residents and staff of nursing homes have died due to COVID-19.

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 AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard.

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