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AARP sounds alarm on COVID-19 vaccination rates for nursing home staff


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, and finds just 5.3% of Idaho nursing homes meet an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated.

Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56%) and about 78% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Here in the Gem State, 78.4% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 51.1% of staff.

At the national level, COVID-19 cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Idaho continue to decrease from what they were in December 2020, dropping from a rate of 1.63 to 0.09 per 100 residents. New infections among residents and staff also declined during the same period. Resident cases went from 9.5 to 0.39 per 100 residents, and new staff cases increased/declined from 11 to 0.51 per 100 residents.

“The drop in cases and deaths in nursing homes is welcome news,” AARP state director Lupe Wissel said. “But the potential for the highly contagious Delta variant causing more harm to residents and staff is very real. We must do everything we can to keep residents and staff safe from the virus, which means encouraging everyone in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.”

While rates of cases and deaths have improved from the height of the pandemic, chronic problems revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The most recent data shows that 3.9% of nursing homes in Idaho had an urgent need for PPE in the four-week period ending June 20. Also, during this time period, 37.3% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides, a slight decrease from the previous reporting period.

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, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

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