New data indicate rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in America’s nursing homes, including those in Virginia, rose substantially in June for the second month in a row, ending several months of decline from the peak of the initial Omicron wave in January 2022 and heightening concerns that a new surge is upon us.
The rate of nursing home resident deaths nationwide increased by more than 50% in the four-week period ending June 19, according to AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, with more than 750 resident deaths reported.
In Virginia resident deaths were up from a rate of .04 per 100 residents in the previous four-week period ending May 22, to .06 in the four-week period ending June 19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3,000 nursing home residents in Virginia have died from COVID-19.
Furthermore, the rate of resident cases nationwide increased by 27%, compared to the previous four weeks, according to the dashboard while the rate of staff cases nationwide increased by 42% during the same reporting period.
Nursing home resident cases in Virginia were up from a rate of 2.74 per 100 residents in the previous four-week period ending May 22, to 4.14 in the four-week period ending June 19. The rate of staff cases was up from 2.29 per 100 residents to 3.81 compared to the previous dashboard release.
“Our loved ones in nursing homes are among our most vulnerable,” said David DeBiasi, advocacy director for AARP Virginia, which serves more than 1 million members aged 50 and older in the commonwealth. “Rising deaths and cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff nationally show that for their sakes, we must remain vigilant, and we must hold nursing homes accountable for providing high quality care and safe environments.”
The latest data from the AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard show that as of June 19, 74% of nursing home residents in Virginia were fully vaccinated with at least one booster dose, a slight increase from mid-May. Among nursing home staff, nearly 50% are fully vaccinated with at least one booster dose, a slight increase from mid-May.
Nationwide, about 29% of nursing homes reported a staffing shortage in the four weeks ending June 19. The percentage of facilities in Virginia reporting a shortage of nurses or aides was 34% in the four weeks ending June 19.